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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."