Britain’s Next Big Thing

Theo Paphitis

Britain’s Next Big Thing from Maverick Television hosted by Dragons’ Den’s Theo Paphitis recently came to the end of its seven episode BBC 2 run.

The proposition was for designers to come up with products to pitch to three British High Street businesses – Liberty, Habitat and Boots. This time they would be the judge not the Dragons in their Den. Theo would instead play the Evan Davis role presiding over the show and its budding designer-entrepreneurs.

The focus too would be retail products and we would see them not just to the pitch but beyond – through their manufacture to their final store display and sales promotion.

It was a fascinating process and series. Like ‘Dragons’ Den’ itself reminding that you have to have a good idea yet even that may not be enough.

For some the issue was of scalability – their products that work small-time may flounder both technically and as a business when produced on a more industrial scale.

Weston Scarf

And then your product in on display in Liberty yet it may not sell. And the problem of demand not just being its lack but its opposite – your very success may overwhelm you and prove the final nail of your undoing.

And if you should survive all that – well then no time to rest, the process starts all over again with your next product.

A designer’s life may be a romantic one but certainly not a sentimental one – warm-hearted perhaps, hard-headed most definitely.

I particularly enjoyed the Professor of Architecture, Richard Weston, and his beautiful silk scarves, which are based on mineral, fossil and stone designs and which are then digitally reproduced and then printed as sheets of silk.

But Britain’s Next Big Thing – what is with that title? Often my eyes would glaze past this on the schedule considering this must be yet another talent show dedicated to acting, dancing, singing – certainly not the talent of designing. It is just too generic and gives little indication of its subject matter. This caused me to miss a few episodes even when I had watched earlier episodes of the series!

Perhaps instead Britain’s Next Big Shopping Thing? Britain’s Next Big Entrepreneur…

Do you agree with me about the current title? And if so any suggestions of your own?

Meanwhile I am looking forward the next series whether it is called Britain’s Next Big Thing or not!