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Duncan Bannatyne to quit Dragons' Den after this series

Duncan Bannatyne's departure leaves only Peter Jones from the starting line up on Dragons. Credit: PA

Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne is stepping down from the BBC2 show after 12 series - telling producers: "I'm out."

The health club boss, 65 -who was one of the original team of business experts when the programme launched nine years ago- said he had had 'the time of his life' as a dragon.

But he announced the forthcoming series - beginning on July 20 - will be his last as he leaves the programme "due to other business commitments".

Mark Linsey, the BBC's entertainment controller, said: "Duncan has been the most formidable Dragon and we are going to miss him enormously.

"His seat is going to be a difficult one to fill, but he leaves the show on a high, with this next series being the best yet."

Entrepreneur Piers Linney to join Dragons' Den lineup

Linney's cloud computing firm was founded in 2009. Credit: pierslinney.com

Entrepreneur Piers Linney is to join the team on TV's Dragons' Den, the BBC said today.

The cloud computing pioneer will join Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and new Dragon Kelly Hoppen for series 11 of the BBC2 show.

Linney, who has a wide range of professional experience, is joint chief executive of Outsourcery, a world leading cloud service provider.

He qualified as a solicitor specialising in private equity and also worked as an investment banker and venture capital fund manager.

In May 2011, he featured on the Channel 4 series Secret Millionaire during which he spent time in a Young Offenders Institution working with prisoners, one of whom is now employed by his company.

He is also named in The Power List, a compendium of the 100 most influential black Britons.

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Kelly Hoppen to join panel of Dragons' Den

Interior designer and businesswoman Kelly Hoppen is to join the panel on Dragons' Den.

Kelly Hoppen Credit: Press Association

Hoppen runs her own firm as well as a design school and is famed for her use of taupe and beige colour schemes. She has fronted a Channel 5 series and has written a number of books.

She said: "I have always been passionate about championing entrepreneurs, so being able to take it to the next level by investing my money in innovative new businesses is very exciting.

"Having started my design business as a teenager, building a global brand through two recessions, I understand the reality of running a creative business. I'm looking forward to bringing a different perspective into the Den and to hopefully finding an undiscovered gem or two."

Producers are still to appoint a further Dragon after both Theo Paphitis and Hilary Devey left the show.