Deborah Meaden reveals behind the scenes secrets of Dragons Den's sometimes 13-hour film shoots

Virgin Radio

2 May 2024, 11:10

Deborah Meaden and the Dragons on Dragon's Den

Credit: BBC

Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden has opened up about the Dragons’ experience of the show’s sometimes 13-hour filming days.

Speaking with to promote her support of the charity project Mary’s Meals, the longstanding Dragon shared what an average day on set for one of the show’s expert investors can entail.

“It starts very early… I sit in the makeup chair at about quarter to eight,” Meaden revealed. “We sometimes don’t finish until nine o’clock, so it’s a long day.”

When it comes to the Den experience itself, the successful businesswoman stressed: “We genuinely don’t see anything about the pitches before they come into us. We are taken away to a green room while they set the next pitches up."

Each day, the Dragons see an average of six to seven pitches, but this number varies as: “The production don’t know how long we’re going to take to actually let the pitches run, because it’s entirely up to us.

“They don’t speed us up, slow us down. They don’t give us any direction… they don’t say ‘Right, enough is enough, you’ve asked enough questions.’ It’s entirely up to the Dragons how long we keep the entrepreneurs with us.”

Longer filming days usually mean more successful pitches. “When [entrepreneurs] stay longer, it’s because we’re interested, so they’re more likely to get an investment.

“The longest one I’ve been at is three and a half hours,” Meaden revealed. “The shortest one I’ve been in is 11 minutes!”

Away from the show, the British business icon most recently said ‘I’m in’ to supporting international children’s charity Mary’s Meals. “Mary's Meals is a fantastic charity, which actually feeds more than 2.4 million hungry children every day,” Meaden shared.

The charity is currently inviting people and organisations to raise money to sponsor schools in Malawi and Zambia. “Whether you're an individual who wants to give £10, £100, whatever it is… or you’re bigger organisation that's going to commit to a chunkier sum of money, everybody can get involved,” Meaden said.

For more information on the campaign and more, visit

Dragon’s Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.