Discovery has announced today that longtime co-host and orange-glove extraordinaire Edd China will be departing Wheeler Dealers after 13 seasons on the show. Despite the move, the show has been renewed for season 14, with former “For The Love of Cars” host Ant Anstead taking over spanner-spinning duties.
In a video posted on his YouTube channel (above), China reveals that he decided to leave Wheeler Dealers because Velocity plans to reduce the ‘workshop’ aspect of the show in the upcoming season.
“The detailed and in depth coverage of my fixes in the workshop; what I consider to be the backbone and USP of the programme, are something Velocity feel should be reduced,” China says. “The workshop jobs are certainly the hardest part of the show to make and reducing their substance and role in the show will save the production considerable time, effort and therefore money. However, this new direction is not something I am comfortable with as I feel the corners I was being asked to cut compromised the quality of my work and would erode my integrity as well as that of the show, so I have come to the conclusion that my only option is to let Velocity get on with it, without me.”
China’s decision to leave Wheeler Dealers came as a shock to co-host Mike Brewer. Speaking to the Press Association, Brewer said: “I’m obviously upset and gutted that Edd’s decided to leave the programme because we’ve got a very strong relationship and a close bond after 13 years and 135 cars.”
“I respect his decision – Edd wants to move on to other things and I completely get that – but obviously he’s been a part of my life and has been forever so it’s a bit of a shock that he’s decided to leave the show.”
– Mike Brewer
Discovery executive vice president Robert Scanlon thanked China for his years of dedication to the show. “While we’ll miss his signature orange gloves, we know that anything they touch will turn to automotive gold,” Scanlon said. “We’re committed to making Wheeler Dealers the best automotive series on TV, and feel Ant Anstead brings the in-depth knowledge our viewers crave and a unique style our viewers will love. He, Mike Brewer and the production team are laser focused on delivering the best car projects and best episodes possible.”
Anstead, a car builder and designer, has paid tribute to Wheeler Dealers and to the man whose big boots he’ll be filling. “As the first, original format for fans interested in fixing cars, it’s fair to say most TV motoring shows trace their heritage back to Wheeler Dealers,” he said. “I grew up watching and learning from Edd and Mike, and in recent years have come to know both as close personal friends. It is with Edd’s blessing that I join the team for this new and exciting challenge. I hope he and viewers enjoy what I bring to the show and recognize that for me it’s always been about the love of cars.”
Anstead is currently the world record holder for selling vehicles for the highest price in the World at auctions, and has been building custom-made cars ever since he was a kid. In addition to his role on Wheeler Dealers, he’ll also be hosting a new 10-part Channel 4 series “World’s Most Expensive Cars”, and is often seen hosting the live stages of some of the United Kingdom’s most prestigious car shows.
Wheeler Dealers season 14 is set to debut on Velocity in the US, Discovery in the UK and internationally towards the end of this year.