Duncan Bannatyne
Gender Male
Date of Birth 02/02/49
Series 1-6
Number of Investments Made -
Net Worth £310 Million

Duncan Walker Bannatyne, OBE (born 2 February 1949) is a Scottish entrepreneur, businessman and best selling author. His first book "Anyone can do it" sold more than 200,000 copies and his second book "Wake up and change your life" quickly entered the Sunday Telegraph top selling books list. He is one of two dragons who has been in every series of Dragons' Den to date.


Born in 1949 in the town of Clydebank, he was raised in a house in Canberra Avenue in a relatively poor family. Told by his mother on an occasion that he couldn't have an ice cream, he went out and built up a newspaper round by collecting 100 names, and bought his entire family an ice cream the following summer.

In 1964 and at the age of 15, Bannatyne volunteered for 12 years with the Royal Navy as a junior 2nd class engineering mechanic (stoker) at RNTE Shotley better known as the boys' training establishment HMS Ganges near Ipswich, after which he served several years before receiving a dishonourable discharge for attempting to throw 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 only nineteen years old when this happened. After the incident he had to serve 9 months in the tough Colchester military detention centre before being discharged aged 20.

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 a difficult business climate for outsiders, at age 29 Bannatyne and his wife moved to Stockton-on-Tees in northern England. Bannatyne's business career began almost immediately with an ice cream van purchased for £450. He soon expanded by buying more vans and eventually sold the business for £28,000, founding a nursing home business instead. He sold his nursing home business Quality Care Homes for £46 million in 1996 and children's nursery chain Just Learning for £22 million.

He has since expanded into Health Clubs, with the popular Bannatyne's chain to his name, and also to bars, hotels and property. He recently acquired 26 Health Clubs from Hilton Hotels. Bannatyne's is now the largest independent chain of Health Clubs in the United Kingdom.

His current wealth is estimated at £310 million, as indicated in 2008 by the Sunday Times Rich List, which places him as the 296th richest person in the United Kingdom.

Television careerEdit

Bannatyne's first TV appearance was in October 2003, appearing on the BBC Two documentary Mind of a Millionaire. He went on to present 23 episodes of Mind Your Own Business, again for the BBC, where he helped turn around failing businesses.

Since his initial appearance on Dragons' Den, Bannatyne has had a side career developing in the media. He appeared on ITVs new show Fortune - Million Pound Giveaway where people seek money to fulfil their dreams. He also made guest appearances Would I Lie To You?, 8 out of 10 Cats, Al Murray's Happy Hour and he was also featured in an episode of Break with the Boss, and several appearances as a panellist on channel Five's The Wright Stuff. He also appeared on ITV1 Rich List Give It Away, where he travelled the Country trying to get more wealthy people to give money to charity.

A documentary "Bannatyne Takes On Tobacco" was broadcast on BBC2 on 1 July 2008. In this program he visited 3 African Countries to investigate the tactics used by big tobacco (and British American Tobacco in particular) in selling cigarettes to children. So successful and far reaching was the Documentry that the Maldives Government, having watched it, overturned a decision to cooperate with BAT who wanted to bring a certain cigarette brand into their territory.

Charity worksEdit

Bannatyne received his OBE partly in recognition for his charity work in Romania where over a 10 year period he has funded several projects, notably Casa Bannatyne in Târgu-Mureş, a hospice for orphans with HIV and AIDS.

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

On 29 August 2008 Duncan appeared on the popular television programme Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and raised £20,000 for the charity NCH.


Bannatyne has previously supported the UK Conservative party (under Margaret Thatcher) and then switched to support Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. This is evidenced in his 2008 promotional video supporting Gordon Brown.

Personal lifeEdit

He has six children: four by his first wife, Gail; and two by his current wife, Joanne McCue.

Joanne McCue was Bannatyne's former director of nursing with Quality Care Homes. He proposed to her in Barbados in early 2006, and married her on 11 November 2006 at St Mary's Church in Norton, County Durham. Celebrities at the 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.

Bannatyne and his family live in England and France, maintaining homes in Wynyard in the north-east of England, London and Cannes.

Bannatyne was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.) by Glasgow Caledonian University for services to business and charity.

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