Touker has now fully recovered (Picture: BBC)
Dragons’ Den star Touker Suleyman raised his own battle with illness during a product pitch in tonight’s first episode of the new series.
Touker joined fellow Dragons Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett, Sara Davies and Peter Jones as they returned to the Den, and the very first pitch resonated particularly with the 69-year-old.
Lucy, pitching her company Taboo, created a durable pill case designed for people like her, and like Touker too.
‘I am that customer fortunately,’ he told her, before opening up on his own health battles.
‘I had a bad illness a few years ago so I’m on blood thinners, hydrocortisone, cholesterol, you name it I take it,’
‘But I’m healthy thank god,’ he added.
The Dragons have returned for a 20th series (Picture: PA)
‘And i do understand that if you are instructed to take pills during the day, it can be awkward.’
In 2019, Touker was absent from filming some of the episodes for the 17th series that year, with former Dragon Theo Paphitis stepping in.
He’d had to withdraw from the show temporarily after being diagnosed with pneumonia, leaving him in a hospital bed for several days.
Touker suffered from pneumonia in 2017 (Picture: BBC)
In a statement at the time, he said: ‘I’m grateful that my good friend Theo was able to step into the Den to keep my seat warm while I had some time off.
‘I can’t wait to see him back in action and keeping the other Dragons on their toes, but don’t worry, I wasn’t gone for long!’
Last year, Touker reflected on his health journey and said his priority is ‘good health’.
He told The Telegraph: ‘In 2019 I had pneumonia and was given 24 hours to live. That was in April. In August I had another illness and was in intensive care and virtually died.
‘So I have learnt the value of health. You cannot buy good health.
‘That’s where you put things into focus and you realise that it’s not all about money. It’s about looking after your health, looking after your family, looking after your friends. That’s what’s important.’
Dragons’ Den continues on Thursday at 8pm on BBC One.