Who's the best Dragon in the Den?

We've been weighing up the pros and cons of each of the metaphorical Dragons who regularly lock metaphorical horns in the metaphorical Den and here's how they measure up. Metaphorically.

The Dragons

Peter Jones

Peter is, in at least one respect, head and shoulders above the rest of the Dragons. Height, to be precise. He's bloomin' massive, he is. The former tennis pro might be ginormous, and he might have a habit of wearing the sort of 'wacky' socks that only a man who spends too much time with spreadsheets could ever think of as hilarious, but behind that appearance conscious, well-preserved, exterior beats the heart of an empire builder. Ok, so his taste in music can be called into question after the Hamfatter, er, unpleasantness, but surely he's allowed one or two mistakes. This is, after all, the man who saw the commercial potential in a sauce whose main marketing tool was a man singing its name repeatedly. He has vision, he is web-savvy and he'd invest in pretty much anything just to annoy Duncan.

Duncan Bannatyne

Duncan would be the first to challenge any ideas that Peter's the main man in the Den, largely because Duncan's the first to challenge anything Peter says or does. Positively bristling with indignation for the majority of the time, the only thing Duncan hates more than losing out to Peter is the idea of parting with his cash. He's dragged himself up by the bootstraps so doesn't exactly dish out hugs and applause for anyone who fails to wow him with their business acumen, but he does have an Achilles' heel: working class heroes. If someone who's struggled through more adversity than Duncan's barber to get this far comes in with a business plan, however wobbly, chances are he'll whip out the chequebook. Hell, he might even sign it in his own name…

Theo Paphitis

We think Theo's a proud parent, but it's hard to tell because he never mentions his kids or their eventual inheritance of his fortune. Never. That aside, he's a canny, wily sort of man who knows retail better than stalkers know the net curtains of their stalkees, and is never shy of expressing his disgust should a pitch fall short of his high expectations. In recent series him and Deborah Meaden have formed a sort of on-screen marriage which positively bristles with the will-they-won't-they tension not seen since Ken and Deirdre in their pomp. They won't, by the way.

Deborah Meaden

Deborah gets a lot of stick for being a sour-puss but that's a little unfair. She has definitely smiled, at least once, in the Den. Ok, so the cameras weren't rolling, but it still counts. While she might not be the ideal choice for a kiddies' party, Deborah is a genius when it comes to negotiating, often talking entrepreneurs down to the point where they give her money. She does have a quirky side too – how else could you explain that investment in a fashionable voodoo doll? With an environmental conscience, a great head for figures and an eye for a bargain, Deborah might be the dark horse but she's rarely outfought, outthought or outbid on investments she takes a shine to.

James Caan

James is the good cop, the smiley, kindly, lovely uncle of a man who has never knowingly turned down an investment. And yet still the budding billionaires overlook him in favour of the clout of Peter, or the Irn-Bru-infused charms of Duncan. It's hard to know why - perhaps it's as simple as the fact that by refusing to treat them mean, James can't make them keen. He's recently left the show too, so it looks like we'll never see the day when someone chooses him over the others and watch his face light up in a mixture of delight and surprise.

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