Belfast Telegraph

Bannatyne hails new Dragon diet aid

Duncan Bannatyne has revealed that his new Dragon's Den co-star Kelly Hoppen put him on a special diet - and has improved his health following a scare.

The 64-year-old Scottish businessman - who started out as an ice cream van man and now owns a chain of hotels and fitness centres - had a health scare last year when he was rushed to hospital after suffering chest pains during a gym session. He later denied reports of a heart attack.

Duncan said he has now lost weight after taking health advice from interior designer Kelly, who has joined the panel of BBC2's business investment show for its 11th series, which begins this weekend.

The no-nonsense entrepreneur said he learned a lot from sitting next to his new colleague.

He revealed: "She's phenomenal on nutrition. I noticed she was getting her food sent from the hotel - it would be food with steamed vegetables. I said 'I want what you're getting'. So she orders my food for me every day now, and I'm a lot slimmer. So that's great."

Kelly and technology entrepreneur Piers Linney join Duncan, Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden on the show, following the departure of Theo Paphitis and Hilary Devey.

Bannatyne confessed that he misses his friend Paphitis, but has formed a new bond with old rival Jones.

He said: "I miss Theo. Theo was lovely and great fun. Me and Peter are great friends. The first three or four years we couldn't stand each other. Genuinely! We nearly went outside a couple of times and had a punch-up. Luckily we didn't because I'd have killed him!"

Peter said: "He's started to grow on me. And it's a lot to do with the fact his bus pass is about to be issued. He's at that age where he's mellowed and, if I'm really honest, I've got a little twinkle in my eye for him now. I've got to know the real Duncan, and he's a lovely, lovely man."

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