Dragon’s Den: Chrystal Rose quizzes the Dragons while Michael Smith thinks father knows best but will anyone walk away with an investment this week?
It always intrigues me why people stay with a show after it has reached the heady heights of ten series especially something as formulaic as Dragon’s Den. Perhaps it’s the familiarity of the programme, perhaps it’s being able to watch something on Sunday night that isn’t a period drama or perhaps it’s trying to work out why there’s upturned clock and a massive chain in that room where Evan Davis lives. Whatever the reason it still seems that people want to see plucky entrepreneurs completely belittled and often given no investment whatsoever before they leave with their tail between their legs.
At least this episode started with a bit of showbiz glamour with Chrystal Rose who some more mature members of the audience will remember had a modicum of success in the early 1990s becoming the first British woman ever to host an eponymous talk show. Chrystal wanted £80,000 for a 25% share in her game show concept ‘Lost for Words’ based on a board-game she invented born out of her love for playing Scrabble as a member of the Middlesex Scrabble League. Chrystal’s was probably the most memorable pitch of the night as she’d gone to the trouble of constructing a whole mock set so the Dragons could sample the game which in essence seemed to be guessing a word and then trying to eliminate your opponent by making them spell a word backwards. As she was quizzed by the Dragons, Chrystal revealed an interesting past which included running a night club and a dress shop though she failed to mention she also started up a record label. She did admit that she could’ve pitched ‘Lost for Words’ to a producer but instead thought she could get one of the Dragons on board however the majority pulled out saying that maybe she should’ve pitched a production company instead. It was Duncan who dealt the cruellest blow after telling Chrystal that he was unimpressed with ‘Lost for Words’ as a show telling her that there were far better quizzes on TV currently and he was right. Despite getting no offers I think the exposure that Chrystal’s proposed show received on Dragon’s Den may be enough for it to be commissioned, probably by Challenge, however due to her age and the fact nobody remembers her I’ve got a feeling she may be replaced as host by a younger model.
Speaking of youth next up was 22 year old Harrison Woods a plucky student looking for 60,000 for a 20% in his company Primal Parking which essentially uses an Online App to inform drivers where the nearest unused parking spaces are. He also introduced them to the parking barrier which can be placed in the space that they have reserved ensuring that nobody else uses it in the meantime. Harrison’s pitch was full of energy however he soon became flustered by Debra Meaden questioning what made him unique and the answer was the app, which hadn’t been launched yet, as neither of his competitors offered that service. Though a couple of the dragons were sceptical Harrison revealed that he had a 20% partner in the business in experienced web designer Jonathan who created both the website and app for him. Duncan, Debra and Hilary all pulled out claiming that Harrison wasn’t quite there yet saying he had an idea but he needed to go away and work on it. Theo though saw a spark in Harrison’s eyes and applauded his entrepreneurial spirit claiming that he wanted to be there when he made it big however he was only going to offer him half the money which meant that he would still leave the den with nothing. Thankfully Peter stepped with and Theo taking 20% each for half of the money and giving Harrison the opportunity to go forward with two business brains backing him.
Caroline Brown was possibly the sweetest person to enter the den as she pitched for £80,000 for a 30% share in her company ‘Hunting Foot’. Caroline was essentially pitching two products one was a little bit of plastic which old people could place their sticks on when they went to the loo while the other was a cat food tray that could be attached to a walking stick. The majority of the Dragons were quick to praise Caroline’s ideas with Hilary Devey in particular saying that her late mother would’ve got plenty of use out of the stick holder. The general feeling was though that Caroline’s pet bowl idea was too niche, despite it winning some sort of innovation award from Pets at Home, and that she should concentrate on the stick holder idea. As it would be hard to generate a profit out of either of the items that Caroline was pitching they all pulled out and suggested that she continue to sell her inventions to the NHS. Despite not getting her money Caroline still got a lot of respect from the Dragons while she also got one of the best descriptions of her pitch after Evan Davis described it as ‘jaunty.’
In my last Dragon’s Den review I wrote how two heads were better than one as it seems that duos often triumph in the den however this week that theory was proved wrong by father and son team Joe and Michael Smith in tonight’s final pitch. It all started well for the Smith boys as they demonstrated their product ‘The Wheelbarrow Booster’ which essentially was a bag that surrounded your barrow meaning that you were able to pile more into it without any of the contents seeping out. As the questions began the pair continued to impress by telling the Dragons that they’d got interest on QVC and had already been offered exclusivity by a German garden centre chain which they’d turned down. Oddly it started to go downhill when the pair were given their first offer from Duncan who who said he’d give them the full £50,000 they asked for but wanted 50% instead of the 10% that they had offered with former landscape gardener Michael turning this down straight away. As Peter, Debra and Theo all chastised Michael for his long-in-the-tooth attitude it seemed to me as if Joe wanted to distance himself from his father who was causing them to lose any chance of an investment as the trio of aforementioned Dragons all pulled out. Finally Hilary said she identified with Michael’s no-nonsense attitude and gave him a chance at redemption saying that she’d split the 50% with Theo as well as the money an offer I felt they’d take. However after a quick chat they politely turned down the offer and left with no money despite getting an offer that I feel Joe would’ve accepted had he been pitching on his own.
After watching this episode of Dragon’s Den I feel its success may lay in the intrigue factor of whether or not the four central pitchers will end up with any investments as it is set up as a bit of a guessing game for example I didn’t think Harrison would leave with any Dragons let alone two. There’s also the chance of having a laugh at some of the smaller unsuccessful pitches, which this week included ornate tea and something to give you a hot shower for longer, which break up the longer periods of the show. At the end of the day though I feel it’s about watching business at work and deciding ourselves how good these ideas are and tonight I feel it was the variety of the products on show that also made it possibly the most entertaining instalment of this series so far. My only disappointment was that nobody wanted to invest in ‘Lost for Words’ a programme that I’m sure will be coming to an obscure satellite channel near-you in the distant future.
What did you think to this week’s Dragon’s Den? What was your favourite pitch? Leave Your Comments Below.