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Here Be Dragonse


Watching people fail (and sometimes win) = great gameshow

The presenter, that big clock, too much filler

Recommendable Yes:

20 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (7%):
  1. stevethesleeve
  2. techno_man_37
very helpful by (93%):
  1. 1st2thebar
  2. hazle
  3. Soho_Black
and 23 other members

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I was going to start off with a load of Olde English, but forsooth and forswain, I can't keep that up for long. Let me just take a bite out of this turkey leg, toss it to the hounds, then we can get started.

You must know this show by now, and if not, it's basically televised panhandling in a trendy London warehouse in front of five investors who all look like they've entered the finals of the lemon-sucking contest.

The premise is - various members of the public take an invention, a product or an investable idea up a narrow flight of stairs and plonk it down in front of a panel of rich "dragons". Said people then try to get the dragons to give them money so they can launch their product or idea. Past highlights include a man who had a special machine that made shoes not smell of cheese, a woman who invented an inflatable banana protector, and Levi bloody Roots, who clawed his way back from music limbo with a tasty condiment in his grip.

Why dragons? Well, who knows. Most dragons in mythology used to flap about eating people and getting stabbed by knights, rather than wearing suits and glaring.

These mock-lizards vary from season to season, but invariably include a load of smug gits with roughly the same amount of sense than they have money. They are completely interchangeable, even though there are stalwarts like Duncan "I never invest in anything" Bannatyne or Peter "Unreadable" Jones. The formula remains the same - they talk at the contestants until they either given them money, give them a verbal bashing, or split an investment with one or more of the other den-dwellers.

The show usually begins with one main investment tale, which you get to see from beginning to end. You then get a bit of filler where some berks turn up and get shouted at. Some will slip up by getting percentages wrong. Others invent things that are about as useful as pinking shears made of gentle whispers.

Like all game shows - and moan all you like, this is the Gong Show for entrepreneurs, Britain's Got Talent for people who make things other than fart noises with their hands to the tune of the Star Wars Cantina Song - the fun comes from watching people fail. Occasionally, someone has a great idea and get some money. Whoopee skip. Let's watch Billy from Bath sweat because he's forgotten to bring in a business plan. Schadenfreude at its finest.

The only thing that ruins the show for me is the eternal blatherings of Evan Davis. You may think you remember Evan from other shows, he's that interchangeable. I was of the misunderstanding that Davis was that one feller who walks round peoples houses on Channel 4 and goes "my god, you've built a teepee in the shower! FABULOUS!", but that's someone else.

No, instead of being impressed with erections, Davis spends the entire show stating the cocking obvious. If someone should shout at an investor, Davis will pipe up. "Gordon has been blasted by the dragons! His only hope now is to do something else!" This will be underscored with a spooky, Enya-lite synth wail, or a dramatic sting. The production on this show smack of desperation.

Still, productions aside, Davis also tries jacking this show up to the life support when it's breathing fine. How does he do it? By giving a post-humiliation/victory analysis, usually with the exhausted pitchers trying to look interested as he tells them what just happened to them. "So, you got the investment! That must be what you came in here for..." "Um...yes, actually."

Still, it's the age of short attention spans and did you see that new Solange Knowles video? She looks just like Beyonce in some parts, don't you - oh, sorry. The show does demand some attention, due to the lengthier main pitch segments, but it's easy to drift off and do something else - like write a review - while it runs in the background. It's like eating a pastrami sandwich; you don't really want the bread, you just want mouthful after mouthful of spicy, sweet beef, but if you don't use the bread you get mustard on your fingers. You might not like the bread, but it needs to be there.

So, yeah. It's a gameshow (YES IT IS, SHUT UP) where people gamble with their futures for a chance at a slightly better one. If watching people get humiliated and panicky, or make terrible pitches involving dance routines or over-rehearsed skits sounds like a larf, then give it a go. It's on the Beeb, so it's sort of free. Unless you watch the bazillion repeats on Dave or Squelch or another one of those stupidly-named cable/satellite channels.

If you prefer a lot more pointless outbursts and wall-punching, try American Inventor on ITV2. It's basically the same thing. And more people cry.

Should you prefer no televisual outbursts, tantrums, or people sweating under duress, then there's not much hope for you. May I suggest a renaissance fair?


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Comments about this review »

stevethesleeve 23.07.2008 12:30

"pinking shears made of gentle whispers."? Dude, I have SO missed reading your reviews!

HotBabes 22.07.2008 16:46

I've yet to see a whole episode of this lol. x

techno_man_37 22.07.2008 12:49

one of my fave programs atm, did you see it last night?

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Review Ratings »

This review of Dragons Den has been rated:

"exceptional" by (7%):

  1. stevethesleeve
  2. techno_man_37

"very helpful" by (93%):

  1. 1st2thebar
  2. hazle
  3. Soho_Black

and 23 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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