Who are the Dragons on Dragons' Den?

Do your homework ahead of the show's 2024 return

Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett and Peter Jones
The series 19 Dragons' Den line-up. (BBC)

Dragons' Den is a favourite with BBC One viewers, having run since 2005 and still going strong - with its 21st series due to debut in early January 2024.

Over the years, the five Dragons' chairs have seen some formidable business minds choose whether or not to invest in the business ideas brought to them.

Take a look at every Dragon who has taken part in the show so far and what they're doing now.

Peter Jones – series 1-present

Peter Jones is the only original Dragon still on the show. (BBC)
Peter Jones is the only original Dragon still on the show. (BBC)

Peter Jones is the only original Dragon left on the show, having appeared in every one of the 19 series so far.

The entrepreneur has interests in mobile phones, TV, media, leisure, retail and property, and has seen a huge number of hopeful guests enter the Den over the years.

He doesn't hold anything back in his opinions, whether that is with the guests hoping for his investment, or his fellow Dragons.

Simon Woodroffe – series 1

Simon Woodroffe, founder of Yo! Sushi, addressing the convention.
Simon Woodroffe founded Yo! Sushi. (PA)

One of the original stars of the series, he only stuck around for the first season before giving up chair number two.

Woodroffe is best known for founding the conveyor belt sushi bar chain YO! Sushi and the airport hotel chain Yotel, and lives on a million-pound houseboat.

Doug Richard – series 1-2

Former Dragons Den star Doug Richard arrives at the Old Bailey. (Shutterstock)
Doug Richard was one of the original Dragons. (Shutterstock)

Another of the starting line-up, Richard starred in two series of Dragons' Den.

The US businessman specialises in mobile phones and tech, and has worked as a government advisor on small businesses and apprenticeships.

In 2016, he was in court facing a number of child sex charges, but was found not guilty.

Duncan Bannatyne – series 1-12

Duncan Bannatyne attending the NHS Heroes Awards at the London Hilton on Park Lane.
Duncan Bannatyne put in a long stint in the Den. (PA)

Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne was another big star of the show who spent the first 12 series sitting in the Den.

He is known for his hotel, health club and spa interests but also takes his charity work seriously and has even been awarded an OBE for his charity contributions.

Rachel Elnaugh – series 1-2

(L-R) Entrepreneur, Rachel Elnaugh and Ann Widdecombe, MP for Maidstone and The Weald.
Rachel Elnaugh, left, was one of the original Dragons. (PA)

The last of the starting team of Dragons, Rachel Elnaugh appeared in the first two series and is the founder of gift experience company Red Letter Days.

Theo Paphitis – series 2-10 and 17

Theo Paphitis arrives at the Sky 3D-Women in Film and TV Awards held at the Hilton Hotel in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Picture date: Friday 3rd December 2010. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA
Theo Paphitis made a brief return in series 17. (PA)

Although he wasn't one of the original cast, Theo Paphitis's name is forever associated with the show as he served from series two to 10 and later returned in series 17 to cover for Touker Suleyman who had pneumonia.

Paphitis is a retail magnate who has had connections with La Senza, Ryman, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue, and was also a chairman of Millwall Football Club.

Deborah Meaden – series 3-present

Deborah Meaden on Dragons' Den S19 (BBC)
Deborah Meaden is a long-standing Dragon. (BBC)

Aside from Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden is the longest-serving Dragon – she joined in series three and has been with the show ever since.

Meaden's business experience has included a family holiday business, textiles and various luxury retail ventures, and she took part in the 2013 series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Richard Farleigh – series 3-4

Richard Farleigh arrives at the GG2 Leadership and Diversity Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel in London.
Richard Farleigh was an early star of the Den. (PA)

Australian investor Richard Farleigh spent two series on the show and his business interests have included running a hedge fund in Bermuda, setting up London private members' club Home House, and investing in tech and microelectronics.

James Caan – series 5-8

James Caan at the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Awards, at Claridges, in central London.
James Caan spent four series in the Den. (PA)

James Caan is often thought of as one of the stars of the series, but he only actually appeared as a Dragon for four of them. His ventures have included recruitment, head hunting and private equity, and he chairs the government's Start-Up Loans Scheme.

Hilary Devey – series 9-10

Hilary Devey, during filming of The Graham Norton Show.
Hilary Devey passed away in June 2022. (PA)

Hilary Devey served for two series in the Den after making her fortune with a palletised freight network, but Dragons' Den wasn't the only TV show she was known for.

She also appeared in other business and investment-themed programmes including The Secret Millionaire and The Intern.

Devey died in June 2022 aged 65, at her holiday home in Marrakech. She was said to have been suffering from a long illness.

Piers Linney – series 11-12

Piers Linney attending the BAFTA TV and Craft Nominees Party at the Corinthia Hotel, London.
Piers Linney was also in The Secret Millionaire. (PA)

Piers Linney, who has also appeared in The Secret Millionaire, was on Dragons' Den for two series and is known for his career in the City and interests in banking, IT and cloud computing. He has regularly been named on lists of influential and successful Black business leaders.

Kelly Hoppen – series 11-12

Kelly Hoppen attending the 9th Annual Global Gift Gala held at the Rosewood Hotel, London.
Interior designer Kelly Hoppen served as a Dragon. (PA)

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen joined the show for two series as one of the more familiar faces to sit in the Den. As well as her interior design work, she has her own range of homewares and has made various TV appearances judging competitions and offering design advice.

Nick Jenkins – series 13-14

Iain Martin (left) Ceo Of With Founder And Chairman Nick Jenkins. (Jenny Goodall/Daily Mail/Shutterstock) founder Nick Jenkins (right) with the company's CEO Iain Martin. (Jenny Goodall/Daily Mail/Shutterstock)

Joining the show for series 13 and 14 was Nick Jenkins, although viewers might be more familiar with his business than his name - he's the founder of online greetings card company

Touker Suleyman – series 13-present

Touker Suleyman attends the National Reality TV Awards held at Porchester Hall on September 25, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Touker Suleyman is a Den favourite. Getty Images)

Back in series 13, current Dragon Touker Suleyman made his debut on the show alongside Jenkins and Sarah Willingham, but is the only one of the three to have stuck around long term.

He is a giant of the retail world, having bought and invested in brands such as Hawes & Curtis, Ghost, a luxury handbag label and various cycling and shoe companies.

Suleyman took a brief break from Dragons' Den in series 17 after getting pneumonia, with Paphitis filling in for him.

Sarah Willingham – series 13-14

Sarah Willingham attends The British Takeaway Awards at The Savoy Hotel on November 27, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage)
Sarah Willingham is an expert in hospitality businesses. (WireImage)

Two-series Dragon Willingham has a huge amount of experience in hospitality, with her career highlights including having bought The Bombay Bicycle Club and invested in London Cocktail Club and Craft Gin Club. She is also the founder of Nightcap PLC, which runs brands including Cocktail Club, Barrio Familia and Adventure Bar Group.

Tej Lalvani – series 15-18

Tej Lalvani sits in the Den. (BBC)
Tej Lalvani is CEO of Vitabiotics. (BBC)

Tej Lalvani was a Den regular for four series, until he stepped down for the most recent one. He took over his father's company, Vitabiotics, as CEO, runs a property investment business, and likes to share his insights with other entrepreneurs, having been listed as one of LinkedIn's Top Voices.

Jenny Campbell – series 15-16

Dragons Den star, Jenny Campbell competing with her dog at Crufts (Shutterstock)
Jenny Campbell took on a different challenge at Crufts. (Shutterstock)

Banking pro Jenny Campbell joined the Den for two series with a background of many years working for RBS and then as the owner of ATM provider YourCash.

She only invested in five businesses during her time on the show and then left to support her sons' entrepreneurial ventures. Campbell also recently competed at Crufts with her dog, taking part in the 2020 show.

Sara Davies – series 17-present

Sara Davies tries a product on Dragons' Den. (BBC)
Sara Davies starred in Strictly 2021. (BBC)

She might have only joined in series 17, but Sara Davies has already become a popular Dragon with viewers. Davies set up her hugely successful craft supplies business, Crafter's Companion, while she was still a university student.

She took part in the 2021 series of Strictly Come Dancing and has said the possibility of getting on the BBC dance show, which she is a huge fan of, was a big part of her decision to sign up to Dragons' Den after seeing Meaden take part in an earlier series.

Steven Bartlett – series 19-present

Steven Bartlett
Steven Bartlett is the youngest ever Dragon. (BBC)

The most recent Dragon to join the Den is also the youngest the show has ever signed.

Steven Bartlett joined in series 19 and while he is only 29, he has already proven his impressive business skills by founding social media marketing agency The Social Chain at 22 and taking it public at 27, with the company now worth over £300m.

He has said he got his introduction to the world of business by watching Dragons' Den from 12 years old and also runs an incredibly successful podcast about being a CEO which has interviewed Liam Payne and Matt Hancock as guests.

Gary Neville (guest Dragon) – series 21

Gary Neville joins as a guest Dragon in series 21 of Dragon's Den. (BBC Studios)
Gary Neville joins as a guest Dragon in series 21 of Dragon's Den. (BBC Studios)

When Dragons' Den returns for its 21st series in 2024, current Dragons Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, and Steven Bartlett will be joined by two guest Dragons - the first of whom is commentator and former footballer Gary Neville.

Speaking of his arrival in the Den, Neville said: “It’s a pleasure to join the Dragons as a guest for the new series and see some of the amazing pitches from budding entrepreneurs from different walks of life. "It was a privilege to share my knowledge and guidance with the brave entrepreneurs who entered the Den, but you’ll have to wait and see whether I committed to any investments!”

Emma Grede (guest Dragon) – series 21

Entrepreneur Emma Grede also joins the series as a guest Dragon. (BBC Studios)
Entrepreneur Emma Grede also joins the series as a guest Dragon. (BBC Studios)

Also joining series 21 as a guest Dragon is businesswoman, entrepreneur and fashion designer Emma Grede who will put would-be business partners to the test during a gruelling visit to the Den.

“Being back in the UK and joining this series as a Guest Dragon has been amazing and feels very full circle to me," said Grede on appearing on the show's newest series.

"Being able to share my own knowledge from the business I’ve built with the entrepreneurs is so important, there’s a lot of major talent in this upcoming series, and I hope it inspires the next generation to create opportunities for themselves.”

Dragons' Den series 21 will be available on BBC and iPlayer from Thursday, 4 January 2024.