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Dragons' Den pair sent packing after pitching 'balloon' ride to space

Barry Shanks and David Doughty were after an investment of £75,000

Dragons' Den S21,07-03-2024,10,Steven Bartlett, Peter Jones,BBC Studios,Screen grab
Steven Bartlett and Peter Jones were not convinced. (BBC)

What did you miss?

Dragons’ Den hopefuls pitching space tourism in "a balloon" got short shrift after it emerged they were on the hunt for the Dragons’ phone books.

Barry Shanks and David Doughty went on the BBC show on Thursday (7 March), hoping to secure an investment of £75,000 for a 5% stake in their company, Rocket Breaks. Their dream was to send tourists into space, taking deposits now and the full price (with some tickets around £125,000) once the flight date had been set.

Shanks and Doughty – who confessed they didn’t have any bookings yet – insisted they were going to “change the future of tourism”, adding: “We have got huge ambitions for this company, we are going to take over the universe.”

What, how, and why?

However, the Dragons were not convinced.

Barry Shanks and David Doughty were plugging space tourism. (BBC screengrab)
Barry Shanks and David Doughty were plugging space tourism. (BBC screengrab)

Shanks and Doughty started strong when they handed out cuddly toys showing what the Dragons would look like as astronauts. But the TV stars were left baffled when the pair described a ship that was like a balloon and resembled the “lounge at The Dorchester”, with a bar and WI-FI.

And Deborah Meaden and Steven Bartlett and co were also left scratching their heads over the fact that the type of travel they were talking about could be years in the future.

However, things got really tense when the duo admitted they had a fat bank balance already and revealed they were really hoping to get some access to the Dragons’ network of wealthy friends who could afford to go into space.

"They want our black books so they can sell space tickets!" said Dragon Sara Davies. "Have I got that right?" "Pretty much," the hopefuls replied, with sheepish smiles.

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Steven Bartlett decided not to invest. (BBC)

"Is that really what you are looking for though?" asked Bartlett. "You are looking for us to introduce you to rich people?"

What did viewers say?

Viewers were also confused about the mode of travel, with some asking if it was possible for a balloon to get into space.

"Did he really say taking a balloon to space?" asked one on X. "They’re taking a balloon into space!" said another. "You'd have to be a balloon knot to throw money at that," quipped somebody else.

Dragons' Den S21,07-03-2024,10,Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden ,BBC Studios,Screen grab
Sara Davies grilled the entrepreneurs. (BBC)

One fan posted: "Balloons. I'm not going into space in one of them. I want engines and oxygen."

In the end, the pair were sent packing from the Den without securing the investment they had gone for. Many of the Dragons said while Shanks and Doughty had a decent plan, the business wasn't right for them.

Davies told them: "This issue I have with the business is my primary perceptions on why you want a Dragon. When we asked you, the first words out of your mouth were about that little black book and the introductions to our network of friends. And that's something, that I'm sure I speak on behalf of all of us, is not something that we give up in a promotional capacity, and that's what this is."

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