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ONLINE DRAGONS BREATHING FIRE INTO AN ALL-NEW TELEVISION DEN

ANYONE unwinding last night with a glass of wine and a dose of evening telly might have caught sight of a familiar face on the box &ndash; Julie Meyer, City A.M. columnist and founder of Ariadne Capital, who appeared on the first episode of the new Dragons&rsquo; Den spin-off show on BBC2.<br /><br />Meyer &ndash; who has been listening to budding entrepreneurs pitching their weird and wonderful ideas since March on the online version of the Den &ndash; joins fellow Web Dragon Shaf Rasul on the new programme, fronted by Dominic Burns from the Chris Moyles show on Radio 1. The format differs from the original Dragons&rsquo; Den by showing updates on how the successful entrepreneurs are getting on some way down the line, alongside the usual investment pitches.<br /><br />And Meyer herself &ndash; who previously turned down an offer to appear on the TV version because of the time commitment involved &ndash; is adamant she and Rasul won&rsquo;t show a trace of the frostiness directed at the entrepreneurs by Duncan Bannatyne, James Caan, Deborah Meaden et al.<br /><br />&ldquo;Shaf and I have a very different relationship to the rest of the TV Dragons &ndash; he is constantly teasing me!&rdquo; she told The Capitalist. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got a different ethos. It&rsquo;s not about being nice, nice, nice, but we are sympathetic towards the entrepreneurs and we do what we can to mentor them.<br /><br />&ldquo;So many people have commented to me on how much harder the original TV Dragons are on the contestants, and I think the new show is an opportunity to review what Dragons &lsquo;Den should be all about in a recession. It&rsquo;s about giving a boost to the entrepreneur in difficult times.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>BLIND DATE</strong><br />While we&rsquo;re on the subject of City luminaries enjoying their moment in the television limelight, it would be rude to ignore the appearance of RBS analyst Phil Corbett on Virgin&rsquo;s Living TV last night, where he was starring in a reality TV programme entitled &ldquo;Dating in the Dark&rdquo;.<br /><br />As the name might suggest, the show involved a group of three ladies and three gents in a Big Brother-style house, though the two sexes were kept on separate sides of the house and only exposed to each other in a pitch-dark room in the middle.<br /><br />After a number of weird and wonderful matchmaking exercises &ndash; including a group &ldquo;blind&rdquo; date, psychometric testing to determine the contestants&rsquo; ideal partner, and pheromone tests involving delicate sniffs of various items of clothing &ndash; Corbett made his choice of lady and watched as the lights came on.<br /><br />But though the lovebirds agreed to meet up again, he tells me the romance was not to be.<br /><br />&ldquo;I had a great time on the show &ndash; it&rsquo;s a pretty novel way of looking at dating,&rdquo; he chuckles. &ldquo;But sadly it didn&rsquo;t work out with Rachel, so I&rsquo;m still footloose and fancy free.&rdquo;<br /><br />And touting for more offers, it would seem. The City might see a happy ending yet&hellip;<br /><br /><strong>TOO GOOD </strong><br />Something decidedly fishy is going on for the poor shareholders of business IT firm Nexus Management, who are being inundated with offers to sell up that really are too good to be true.<br /><br />Nexus yesterday put out a statement saying that some shareholders have been approached by companies &ldquo;purporting to act as agents for third parties seeking to acquire a significant stake&rdquo; in the firm.<br /><br />It advised investors to be &ldquo;very wary&rdquo; of the offers &ndash; some of which have been made at premiums of up to 1,000 times the current share price and demand receipt of the deeds to the shares before any money is paid.<br /><br />Concerned chief executive Roger Richardson has already done the decent thing and flagged the problem to the FSA, though I hear a response from the regulator is yet to be forthcoming.<br /><br /><strong>REST IN PEACE</strong><br />City veterans are in sober spirits today as they mourn the passing of Terence Buckland, a former director of Phillips and Drew stockbrokers, at a funeral service in Maidstone, Kent.<br /><br />Buckland &ndash; nicknamed &ldquo;Twiggy&rdquo; in the City &ndash; became head of dealing in the asset management division at the firm after its takeover by the Union Bank of Switzerland.<br /><br />He died last week, aged 66, following a long illness, and will be sorely missed.<br /><br /><strong>TOXIC WASTE</strong><br />Chaos ensued yesterday at One Canada Square in Canary Wharf &ndash; which still holds the record for the tallest building in Britain until the Shard, Bishopsgate Tower and the Heron Tower are finally completed &ndash; as thousands of inhabitants in the building received the following email from management:<br /><br />&ldquo;Due to a major leak, the entire water supply to the building has been disconnected, hence the toilets and air conditioning are out of action.&rdquo;<br /><br />No word as yet on whether the sticky situation has been resolved successfully, though it certainly brings new meaning to the phrase &ldquo;dealing with toxic assets&rdquo;.