New female Dragon flies in to join series after Caan departure

Entrepreneur Hilary Devey is to join the team of business gurus for TV series Dragons' Den, replacing James Caan.

The businesswoman built up a multimillion-pound empire after launching her firm Pall-Ex in 1996, selling her car and home to fund it.

Caan stepped down from the show last month, saying he was concentrating on his "work and philanthropic interests". He has also been involved in a war of words with fellow Dragon Duncan Bannatyne.

Devey, who runs a pallet distribution network, will join returning Dragons Bannatyne, Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden.

She said: "At a time when the banks are failing to invest in British small businesses, I am proud to be able to do my part to support the next generation of UK entrepreneurs.

"In order to set up Pall-Ex in the mid-90s, I had to sell my house and car to get the start-up capital necessary to fulfil my business ambitions, as none of the banks appreciated my potential."

BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow said: "With her extensive business experience, she will bring a new dynamic to the Den, turning up the heat on prospective entrepreneurs as they seek that all-important investment."

The series, in which budding business tycoons present ideas to the Dragons, has been commissioned for a further three series.