Dragons' Den: Theo Paphitis says 'I'm out'

Theo Paphitis Paphitis, 53, will focus on his retail business

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Businessman Theo Paphitis has announced he is leaving money-making TV series Dragons' Den after nine years.

"This has not been an easy decision or one that I have taken lightly," said Paphitis, who joined the show in 2005.

But, he added: "The time felt right to give up my seat, stop breathing fire and allow someone else to enjoy the wonderful experience of being a Dragon.

"So, it just leaves it for me to say thank you to all past and present Dragons. Thank you Auntie. I Am Out."

The show, hosted by Evan Davis, has made household names of recent Dragons including Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne and Hilary Devey.

Successful entrepreneurs - who pitch for investment from the Dragons - have included Levi Roots, with his Reggae Reggae sauce.

'Generosity'

Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC Two said: "I'd like to thank Theo for everything he has done over many years to make Dragons' Den one of the jewels in BBC Two's crown.

"He'll be much missed, not only for his dragon-like ability to interrogate an idea, but also for the generosity of spirit he always showed towards any entrepreneur he thought was doing their best.

"He will be much missed in the den, and we wish him all the very best for the future."

Paphitis, 53, will focus on his retail business. No replacement has been announced.

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