Long-running series can hit soft spots where it takes a bit of a shake-up to get back to form. Sometimes it fails to spot these until the audience votes with its feet or the writers/producers come up with increasingly ludicrous ideas to keep rolling. There is even a phrase for this – “Jumping the shark” which comes from the 1970’s American comedy series ‘Happy Days’ where the Fonz (Arthur Fonzarelli, played by Henry Winkler) ski-jumps over a shark in an episode. Clearly the scriptwriters had run out of ideas and this was a way, they thought, of reviving the viewing figures. It is regarded as a seminal moment on the programme and by all accounts it went downhill from there onwards.
Other programmes such as Big Brother (before it was axed) constantly reinvent themselves to stimulate interest and, in contrast, John Cleese famously wrote only 12 episodes of Fawlty Towers as he felt that those twelve represented everything that might sensibly happen in a Hotel location.
Dragons’ Den has been running since 2005 and, whilst I have been a keen viewer since then, some series (and episodes within) have been better than others. The episode last night (25th August 2019) turned out to be a nail-biter.
With pitches ranging from pasta straws to lights that make bicycles more visible from the side (both failed. Nice idea, shame about the valuation), just two gained investment. Will and his MakTok Chilli paste and Hanna Sillitoe and her recipe book & products created from treating skin disorders.
Hanna gave a very controlled pitch, summarising her journey from growing up with painful skin conditions, being eventually told by doctors that it was psoriasis and being prescribed a strong cancer-treating drug. Not wishing to go down that route, she researched her own solutions. A change of diet, eliminating sugary foods, caffeine and alcohol (despite being told by her own Doctor that a change in diet would not alter anything) was very effective in reducing and, eventually, controlling the psoriasis.
Gradually her skin started to clear up and when she appeared hast night she was radiant, full of zest and very self-confident with her psoriasis well under control. She has published her first recipe book, brought out a rang of skincare products, provides online consultancy and advice and runs retreats to help people change their lifestyle.
No wonder all five dragons were interested, each offering all the money for 20% of her Business. Hanna asked if any Dragons were willing to split. Deborah Meaden said ‘No’, others said ‘Yes’ and Hanna eventually went with a combination of Peter Jones and Tej Lalvani. I suspect that Deborah regrets not being willing to share as Hanna’s Business has Deborah’s name all over it as an investment.
If you are suffering from Psoriasis or other skin condition, it is worth checking out Hanna’s Recipe Book and also her website as there may be something that will help you. Clearly it is her personal journey but if you scroll through her Twitter feed (pre Dragons’ Den airing) you will see plenty of positive stories from people following her advice.