Duncan Bannatyne

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Duncan Bannatyne
Duncan Bannatyne in Felixstowe 2009.jpg
Born(1949-02-02) 2 February 1949 (age 65)
Clydebank, Scotland
OccupationEntrepreneur, investor, television presenter
Known forDragons' Den
Net worthDecrease£110m
Spouse(s)Gail Brodie (m.1983)
Joanne McCue (2006-2012)
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Duncan Bannatyne
Duncan Bannatyne in Felixstowe 2009.jpg
Born(1949-02-02) 2 February 1949 (age 65)
Clydebank, Scotland
OccupationEntrepreneur, investor, television presenter
Known forDragons' Den
Net worthDecrease£110m
Spouse(s)Gail Brodie (m.1983)
Joanne McCue (2006-2012)

Duncan Walker Bannatyne, OBE (born 2 February 1949),[1] is a Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. His business interests include hotels, health clubs, spas, media, TV, stage schools, property and transport. He is most famous for his appearance as a business angel on the BBC programme Dragons' Den. He was appointed an OBE for his contribution to charity.

He has written seven books: Anyone Can Do It, Wake Up and Change Your Life, How to be Smart With Your Money, How to be Smart With Your Time, 43 Mistakes Businesses Make, 37 Questions Everyone in Business Needs to Answer, and Riding The Storm.

In May 2013, it was reported that Bannatyne is £122m in debt, however he says this is a company debt and the company has assets of £230m.[2]


Starting in 1964 and at the age of 15, Bannatyne initially enlisted for twelve years with the Royal Navy as a junior second class engineering mechanic (stoker) at RNTE Shotley near Ipswich, better known as the boys' training establishment HMS Ganges. He served in the Navy for several years before receiving a dishonourable discharge for throwing an officer off a boat landing jetty in Scotland. In his biography he claims this was in part a reaction to this officer's abuse of his authority, in part a dare by his shipmates and in part a way of getting out of the Navy, with which he had become disillusioned. Bannatyne was nineteen years old when this happened. After the incident he had to serve nine months in Colchester military detention centre before being discharged aged 20.[3] He later spent ten days in Glasgow's Barlinnie prison for not paying a £10 fine in relation to a charge of breach of the peace and resisting arrest.[4][5]

After spending his twenties moving from one job to another, Bannatyne lived for a few years on the island of Jersey where he met his first wife. With Jersey's difficult business climate for outsiders, at age 29 Bannatyne and his wife moved to Stockton-on-Tees in North East England. He has stated that he was penniless and did not have a bank account until the age of 30.[6]

His business career began almost immediately after his move to Stockton-on-Tees with an ice cream van purchased for £450.[7] He soon expanded by buying more vans during the period of the Glasgow Ice Cream Wars about which he made comment in a newspaper interview "I got by using the CB radio. It was mainly bluster, but someone did get hospitalised."[8] He eventually sold the business for £28,000, founding a nursing home business called Quality Care Homes which he then sold for £26 million[7] in 1997 and children's nursery chain Just Learning for £12 million.[9] Just Learning chief executive during the 1992-97 period was Michael Fallon (Sevenoaks Tory MP).[10]

Bannatyne has since expanded into health clubs, with Bannatyne's Health Clubs chain to his name, and also bars, hotels and property. He acquired 26 health clubs from Hilton Hotels in August 2006 at a price of £92 million.[7] Bannatyne's is now the largest independent chain of health clubs in the United Kingdom. In May 2010, he added the Charlton House Hotel and Spa in Somerset to the portfolio, with the view to adding more spa facilities and treatment rooms.[11]

In October 2008, he opened the £12 million "Bannatyne Spa Hotel" in Hastings.[7]

In December 2009, Bannatyne joined the UK's largest monthly business magazine Business Matters as a monthly columnist alongside former Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry.[12]

His wealth as of 2011 was estimated at £430 million by the Sunday Times Rich List.[13] In 2012, the Sunday Times Rich List listed him as equal 869th with a worth of £85 million. His net worth dropped because of divorce and a drop in property values at his Bannatyne Fitness chain, which made a £16.2 million loss in 2011 after exceptional one off write downs.

Charity works

Bannatyne received his OBE partly in recognition for his work with charities such as Mary's meals.[14] He has funded several projects over a ten-year period in Romania, notably Casa Bannatyne in Târgu-Mureş, a hospice for orphans with HIV and AIDS in which he invested £80,000. In March 2008, he established the Bannatyne Charitable Foundation with a personal injection of £1,000,000.[15]

On 19 May 2008, Bannatyne added his support to the launch of the Geared for Giving Campaign at the House of Commons to encourage UK business leaders to set up and promote a Workplace Giving scheme to benefit UK registered charities with tax effective donations through employees pay. He then helped to promote Clydesdale Bank's and Yorkshire Bank's efforts to promote the programme through ATM (Automated Teller Machine) rolls. "They are really going for it, over 20 per cent of their employees are giving money through this system," Bannatyne says.[16]

On 29 August 2008, Bannatyne appeared on television programme Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, raising £20,000 for charity NCH.

He became President of the charity No Smoking Day in October 2008. The charity runs the annual health awareness campaign – helping people who want to stop smoking.[17]

Bannatyne is a trustee of Comic Relief and on 27 November 2008 he travelled to Ethiopia with other trustees of Comic Relief. On Saturday 29 November they visited Debre Zeit; Bannatyne said "the most significant part of that day for me was when we were shown that people are taught how to sow vegetables so they can grow them in their own homes, in addition to the training programme the project supplies seeds and tools so that they can become self sufficient".[citation needed]

In August 2010, he agreed to become Patron of PC David Rathband's Blue Lamp Foundation, a charity established by the Northumbria Police Constable David Rathband, who was blinded by gunshot wounds in the 2010 Northumbria Police manhunt.[18]


Bannatyne has previously supported the Conservative Party (under Margaret Thatcher), then switched to support the Labour Party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. This is evidenced in a 2008 promotional video supporting Brown.[19] In the run-up to the 2010 general election, he reaffirmed his support for Labour and criticised Conservative leader David Cameron as a "plonker".[20]

Appearing on the Question Time panel on 7 February 2008, Bannatyne stated he had been a donor to the Labour Party under Blair. He also voiced his support for Brown, but criticised the Cabinet for what he described as "petty squabbles based on personal ambition".[21] In March 2011, Bannatyne appeared to switch political affiliations again by backing certain measures imposed in George Osborne's budget even though he criticised the government a few months earlier. However he did not state that he had turned his back on the Labour Party.[22]

Personal life

Bannatyne has four children by his first wife, Gail (m. 1983[23]): Hollie, Abigail, Jennifer, and Eve; and two with his second wife, Joanne (m. 2006): Emily (b. 1999)[24] and Thomas (b. 2002).[25] He has two grandchildren, Ava and Austin, from his eldest daughter.[26]

Bannatyne met Joanne McCue when she worked for him as a junior nurse at Quality Care Homes in 1992. He proposed to her in Barbados in early March 2006, and married her on 11 November 2006 at St Mary's Church in Norton.[27] Celebrities at the wedding ceremony included Anna Ryder Richardson, Cherie Lunghi, Gary McCausland, Dragons' Den presenter Evan Davis and fellow Dragons Theo Paphitis, Richard Farleigh, Simon Woodroffe and Deborah Meaden. Pop star Marc Almond then performed for 200 guests in the warehouse next to his company's head office.

Joanne filed for divorce in 2010, and divorce proceedings finalised in January 2013.[28][29]

Bannatyne owns a house in Wynyard Park, in the northeast of England.[30] He had a holiday villa in Mougins, near Cannes.[31]

Bannatyne was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.) by Glasgow Caledonian University on 5 July 2006 for services to business and charity. He was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from Teesside University, on 6 February 2009.

Bannatyne celebrated his 60th birthday at Murano's in London with celebrities such as David Coulthard, James Caan, Theo Paphitis and Anna Ryder Richardson. A second party was held in the North East and was headlined by UK soul singer Beverley Knight and featured Chesney Hawkes. The celebration took place in a converted warehouse in Darlington, County Durham.[32][33]

Bannatyne openly discussed having had cosmetic surgery under his eyes on The Graham Norton Show.[34] He had an acting role in the Tyne Tees Television comedy pilot Girl's Club where amongst other actors, he performed alongside the actress Georgia Taylor.[35]

In 2011, Bannatyne announced on Twitter that he suffers from prosopagnosia.[36]

On 1 October 2012, Bannatyne was taken to hospital after reportedly suffering a heart attack.[37]


  1. ^ Barber, Lynn (18 February 2007). "Duncan Bannatyne interview". The Observer (London). Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
  2. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2324102/RICHARD-KAY-Dragons-Den-Bannatyne-122million-debt.html
  3. ^ Bannatyne, Duncan. Anyone Can Do It: My Story. Orion Publishing Group. ISBN 0-7528-8189-2. 
  4. ^ "In the Dragons' Den with God". Sunday Herald. 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  5. ^ "Would I Lie To You Series 1 Episode 1". 
  6. ^ Direct quote from Bannatyne from Dragon's Den, 14 July 2010. Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-03-28.
  7. ^ a b c d http://www.bannatyne.co.uk/about-duncan
  8. ^ "Business profile: Duncan is ready for his close-up=telegraph.co.uk". The Daily Telegraph (London). 2004-11-28. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  9. ^ "Driven Restless And A Bit Arrogant But Definitely Not The Retiring Kind". Darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk. 2006-11-04. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  10. ^ Holland, Tiffany (14 September 14, 2012). "Profile: Michael Fallon, Minister for business". retail-week.com. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Duncan Bannatyne invests in Somerset". IntoSomerset.co.uk. 2010-05-13. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  12. ^ "Bannatyne & Dewberry join Business Matters". Business Matters. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  13. ^ Coxon, Ian (20 May 2011). "The wealthiest in film and TV". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Mary's Meals charity 'feeding 500,000 children a day' - 5 February 2011
  15. ^ Morris, Sylvia (April 23, 2008). "Duncan Bannatyne: Me & my money". thisismoney.co.uk. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  16. ^ Mills, David (December 16, 2010). "A charitable dragon: Why Duncan Bannatyne is geared for giving". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Smokers can use Facebook to quit". telegraph.co.uk. March 10, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  18. ^ Salisbury-Jones, Daniel (July 1, 2012). "TV Dragon Duncan Bannatyne Plays Blind Football For PC Rathband's Blue Lamp Foundation". tyneandwear.sky.com. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Programmes | This Week | Dragon Bannatyne backs Brown". BBC News. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ "This Week's Panel, BBC News' Question Time website". BBC News. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  22. ^ "Budget 2011: Dragons' Den star backs Osborne". BBC News. 2011-03-24. 
  23. ^ [2] Genes Reunited from UK official records, Retrieved 2013-06-30
  24. ^ [3] Genes Reunited from UK official records, Retrieved 2013-06-30
  25. ^ [4] Genes Reunited from UK official records, Retrieved 2013-06-30
  26. ^ "Duncan Bannatyne: The life of me.". London: GoldenMap. 2011-08-20. 
  27. ^ "Driven Restless And A Bit Arrogant But Definitely Not The Retiring Kind (from Darlington and Stockton Times)". Darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk. 2006-11-04. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  28. ^ [5] Darlington and Stockton Times, February 2013 Retrieved 2013-06-30
  29. ^ "Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne says 'I'm out' after divorce". The Daily Telegraph. 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  30. ^ "Celebrity Homes for Sale". Daily Telegraph. 
  31. ^ White, Richard (2009-08-20). "Have a hol in Britain while I'm in.. France". London: The Sun. 
  32. ^ Bannatyne tells birthday guests: I will never retire Monday 9th February 2009. The Northern Echo (2009-02-09). Retrieved on 2012-03-28.
  33. ^ Impact Technical: Case Studies – Duncan Bannatyne's 60th Birthday Celebrations, February 7th 2009 – Darlington[dead link]
  34. ^ The Graham Norton Show, 7 May 2009.
  35. ^ Georgia Taylor website: Liz (Georgia) and Julie (Lucy Blackie) pitch their night club idea to Dragon Duncan Bannatyne. (downloadable clip). Georgiataylor.co.uk. Retrieved on 2012-03-28.
  36. ^ Tobin, Lucy. "Researchers explore problems of 'face blindness'". www.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  37. ^ "Duncan Bannatyne: Dragons' Den star 'suffers heart scare'". BBC News. 2012-10-01. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 

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