Dragon Tej Lalvani bows out of the Den

Dragons’ Den star Tej Lalvani is quitting the BBC show after the next series.

The long-running hit programme will return this spring for its 18th run, filmed after new guidelines allowed the TV industry to restart amid the pandemic.

Lalvani will be joined by fellow investors Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Sara Davies and Touker Suleyman in the 14-part season.

Deborah Meaden will be back for the next series
Deborah Meaden will be back for the next series

But he will then leave to spend more time on his business interests.

Lalvani said: “I’m truly excited for the upcoming series of Dragons’ Den, which looks set to be one of the best.

“However after an incredibly enjoyable four years as a Dragon I have decided that this next series will be my last.

“My commitment to the international growth and expansion of my core business and the numerous investments over the years sadly means I will be unable to dedicate the necessary time moving forward.”

Lalvani, who is chief executive of vitamin company Vitabiotics, thanked the BBC for the “great opportunity”.

The wait is almost over! We’ve trawled the vaults for pitches that sum up passion and pressure in The Den. We’re going out in style! Join us on @BBCTwo in just one hour for the final trip down memory lane. #DragonsDen#BestEverPitchespic.twitter.com/e6pHGY9Qol

— BBC Dragons' Den (@BBCDragonsDen) July 5, 2020

Sarah Clay, the BBC’s commissioning editor for entertainment, said: “Despite the additional production challenges Covid-19 posed, this new series is one of the most tense and competitive yet.

“We’ll be very sorry to see Tej go as he’s one of the shrewdest and coolest Dragons ever to grace the Den, and I want to thank him for his enormous contributions, both personally and professionally, to the series.

“As audiences will see, he certainly leaves the show on a high and we wish him continued success.”

Lalvani replaced Crystal Palace FC chairman Steve Parish, who withdrew from the line-up of entrepreneurs before appearing in a single episode.

He admitted the BBC Two programme required greater commitment than he could offer.