Dragons' Den secrets of the show

Former Dragons’ Den star reveals behind-the-scenes secrets of the show

There is NO lift!

A Dragons’ Den star, who appeared last year, has revealed the behind-the-scenes secrets of appearing on the show.

The BBC One series has been running ever since 2005, and remains one of the channel’s most successful shows.

But did you know that the pitches take a LOT longer than they do on TV?

And that not all of the entrepreneurs chose to take part at first?

Here’s some of the secrets of the show Dragons’ Den

The Dragons' Den cast
Dragons’ Den S20: Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, and Steven Bartlett (Credit: BBC/Graeme Hunter/Caroline McDonald)

Dragons’ Den secrets of the show: Producers find entrepreneurs

Lyndsay Watterson appeared on Dragons’ Den in March 2022.

Although she did not secure investment, her business Neo Walk has since got backing from some seriously famous faces in Hollywood.

After appearing on the show, sometime actress Lyndsay revealed some rather revealing secrets about the show…

Spilling all on her blog, Lyndsay explained that, although she couldn’t reveal all of the secrets of appearing on the show – perhaps as a result of a non-disclosure agreement – there were some things she could tell.

In what may come as a surprise to some viewers, Lyndsay admits that Dragons’ Den producers asked her on the show.

She wrote on the blog: “Let me whizz you all back to eight years ago when Dragons’ Den actually called me to ask if I wanted to go on the show!

“Naturally I thought it was a prank call, but then went on to discover they are always looking for interesting business owners and products and had stumbled (pun) across me on the internet.”

Although Lyndsay felt “very flattered”, she pulled out at that time because her business was too new.

What are the Dragons like behind the scenes?

Lyndsay also revealed that the moment when Deborah Meaden told her to “shut up” still gives her goosebumps.

But it didn’t make the edit…

The founder of Neo Walk sticks wrote that filming a 15 minute segment for the show actually took an hour.

She said that the “Dragons slipped into their characters seamlessly” when the cameras were on.

Lyndsay said: “Sara is the jolly friendly Geordie, Touker is the little guy trying to compete and be heard, Peter is the calm voice of reason, Steven is the good-looking assassin, and Deborah is the original fire breathing Dragon and she scares the crap out of you!”

She also joked that “jolly giant” Peter Jones is “about eight feet tall” – he’s actually 6’5.

However, she did insist that “they are all warm lovely people”.

Lyndsay Watterson appearing on Dragons' Den in 2022
Entrepreneur Lyndsay Watterson appearing on Dragons’ Den in 2022 (Credit: BBC One)

Dragons’ Den secrets of the show: How long do they film Dragons’ Den for?

Filming goes on for 20 days straight for each series.

The Dragons’ sit and watch pitch after pitch, day after day…

So it’s kind of understandably when some of them – usually Touker – gets a bit cranky.

While each pitch has to be a minimum of three-minutes, filming of each pitch can take hours.

And candidates sometimes wait hours to be seen, too.

Edward Hancock, founder of cheesegeek, recently told The Sun that the process is gruelling.

Former Dragon, Piers Linney told Real Business: “If it’s interesting, we will grill them for two hours or more.

“Because it is your money, it’s reality and you’re not just going to fritter it away, you want to make good investments.”

In fact, former Dragon Kelly Hoppen once said that a deal can still fall through even if the Dragons’ have agreed to invest on camera.

Kelly, who was a Dragon from 2013 to 2015, claimed the main reason came down to Dragons having to make the decision to invest in only an hour or two, which meant that vital details were sometimes missed.

A study by Tigermobiles (via sourcewire.com) showed that out of 143 companies who made successful pitches across all 11 series, only 76 investments actually went through.

Where is Dragons’ Den filmed?

Dragons’ Den is now filmed at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays.

Previous series have been filmed in Stoke Newington, Whitechapel and Pinewood Studios.

Other interesting trivia include the facts that candidates get a tour of the den

Before filming, candidates are given a tour of the building and the Dragons’ Den set.

Participation must be kept a secret, and all entrepreneurs get a goody bag.

Steven Bartlett Dragons' Den
Steven Bartlett is the newest investor on Dragons’ Den (Credit: BBC One)

Dragons’ Den secrets of the show: Is the lift real on Dragons’ Den?

Perhaps most shocking of all, we recently discovered that the famous lift isn’t even real on Dragons’ Den.

It’s not a lift which moves up and down between floors, but is more like a… door.

Co-founder of skincare brand Delhicious Body, Zara Saleem, admitted on TikTok that she gets asked about the lift all of the time.

When asked if it’s real, she said: “No it’s not.

“You just press a button, get in and the doors open on the other end.

“I was waiting in the lift for a really long time before the doors opened though.”

Read more: Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden reveals family member’s devastating diagnosis

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Dragons’ Den airs on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One.

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Helen Fear
TV Editor