Kelly Hoppen has confessed she hesitated about signing up to Dragon’s Den, because she didn’t want to fail.

The 53-year-old businesswoman has joined the panel of the business investment show which has just returned to BBC Two for its 11th series.

Kelly said: “I did, because I run a big business and I didn’t want to fail at something. I wanted to succeed.

“I’m also investing in other people’s lives and dreams, so I want to put enough time into it. I did think about it, but it didn’t take long to say yes.”

New Dragons Kelly and technology entrepreneur Piers Linney join Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Duncan Bannatyne on Dragon’s Den, following the departure of Theo Paphitis and Hilary Devey.

Multi-millionaire interior designer Kelly may be famed for using a neutral colour palette in her designs, but she insists her own business background hasn’t limited her investments.

“I’ve invested in things I know about and am interested in, but have nothing to do with lampshades,” she laughed.

And unlike the entrepreneurs pitching – who in the new series arrive in the Den in a lift so viewers can see them sweating it out – Kelly wasn’t nervous on her first day.

“I was excited and had adrenaline,” she said. “I asked the other Dragons how I came across and they said I just fell into it. That was great, because you want to ease your way into a very famous show. You don’t want to stand out.”