Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis is leaving the BBC entrepreneur show after nine seasons.

Announcing his departure, Paphitis said: "This has not been an easy decision or one that I have taken lightly, but with the workload involved in growing my exciting, successful new lingerie brand Boux Avenue both in the UK and internationally, along with my recent purchase of the Robert Dyas retail chain and the running of the 240 Ryman stationery shops, the time felt right to give up my seat, stop breathing fire and allow someone else to enjoy the wonderful experience of being a Dragon on the BBC hit TV show, Dragons' Den.

"So, it just leaves it for me to say thank you to all past and present Dragons, the brilliant production teams that made the show what it is and, of course, the BBC for allowing me to participate in the first place.

"Thank you Auntie. I Am Out."

Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two, said: "I'd like to thank Theo for everything he has done over many years to make Dragons' Den one of the jewels in BBC Two's crown.

"He'll be much missed, not only for his dragon-like ability to interrogate an idea, but also for the generosity of spirit he always showed towards any entrepreneur he thought was doing their best.

"He will be much missed in the Den, and we wish him all the very best for the future."