FANS of Dragons’ Den were left in shock as Peter Jones was replaced by former Dragon Theo Paphitis in last night’s episode.
The former dragon – who quit the show in 2012 – made an impressive comeback to the Den as he helped out Peter Jones, who was self-isolating.
Host Evan Davis explained the Dragon’s return after nine years away, saying: “This week there’s a new but very familiar face in one of the chairs, because even Dragons aren’t immune to the effects of the pandemic.
“With Peter Jones having to self-isolate, high street heavyweight Theo Paphitis has stepped in to take his place.”
Theo’s return was a hit with viewers as one wrote on Twitter: “Great to see Theo Paphitis back on Dragons Den.”
As Theo got seated in Peter’s chair, his fellow dragons also gave him a warm welcome back.
Deborah Meaden, 62, told him: “Can I say, it’s really nice to have you here again.”
Theo, 61, responded: “Well thank you! It’s good to be here. Big shoes to fill.”
“I mean literally big shoes,” Deborah, 62, said of 6 foot 7” tall Peter.
“I’ll put stupid socks on in homage to the tall fellow,” Theo joked.
Peter, 55, tweeted to explain his absence and to reveal how his former co-star made sure he would be remembered after his exit.
He wrote: “Since Dragons’ Den began 16 years ago I haven’t missed a single day’s filming however during the last series I had to self-isolate.
“When discussing with @BBCOne who could stand in for me I chose @TheoPaphitis as he is one of the great past Dragon. Here’s some messages he left.”
Theo clearly enjoyed his brief return to the show as he responded: “Thank you @dragonjones ! It was an absolute blast being back.”
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Dragons’ Den fans will soon again see a new but not so familiar face enter the Den.
Stephen Bartlett, 28, is the show’s youngest ever investor and will be replacing Tej Lalvani on the new series.
Dragons’ Den airs on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One.