This year’s magazine edition of XCity includes a four-page interview with Evan Davis, host of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. Here, exclusively on the XCity website, Davis talks about his other presenting job, as the face of the ever-popular Dragon’s Den…
Dragons’ Den – how do you find that gig?
It’s been a very big part of my career and a very small part of my time. I don’t write the scripts, I don’t have anything to do with the management of the program. I’m a sort of hired presenter. It’s been enormous fun and actually eye-opening to me: meeting the dragons, seeing entertainment television, how it’s made, how it works. But it’s not something that actually absorbs me very much.
As it happens, this year it’s moving to Manchester and I‘m doing much less because being there for the whole time in order to do the occasional interview with someone coming out is just a bit too time-consuming. So this year we’re not even going to do the interviews and they’ll just take a little clip of the people as they come out and I’ll do my links.
Do you think Dragons’ Den, like The X Factor, creates false hope – the idea that you can swan into a presentation with senior businessmen and in ten minutes secure £100,000?
I’ve worried a bit about that, because my advice is: “This is not for everyone, setting up your own business.” But, there are two errors: one error that is giving people false encouragement, and the other is giving them false discouragement. Dragons’ Den has rectified rather too low a profile given to entrepreneurship and the possibilities it throws up. So that’s good. And secondly I don’t think it makes it look that easy. Quite a lot of people think it makes it look too difficult. So no, I don’t.
Where I think it fails is in failing to show how much work goes on afterwards. A line we’ve used quite a lot in Dragons’ Den is: “The real work starts now”. I sometimes think the programme doesn’t give that kind of impression. We say it quite a lot actually. But if people watch it and think it’s like winning a cash prize in a quiz, then it’s a bit of a problem, because a lot of businesses fail. They get the funding and then they fail. So I wouldn’t like it to look too easy.
But I think I’m actually delighted on the culture effect it’s had. I think it has told people that business actually isn’t about finance, business is about products. Business is about whether you can make a product at a price that someone will buy it. And that is what you want, that’s all you want.
So I’m actually proud of my involvement in Dragons’ Den. Other people tell me it has had a big effect. It’s entered the lexicon, the language. People talk about Dragons’ Den-type events all the time. So I’m very pleased with that.
To view slideshow, click on the first image and then click through
Interview and captions by Ben Riley-Smith. Slideshow by Julia Rampen
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