Would you believe that Wheeler Dealers has graced our screens for just over 14 years now? The show first aired on October 7th, 2003, which saw host Mike Brewer purchase an old Porsche 924 for just £700.
His new co-presenter, Edd China, then spent an additional £310 fixing the car’s problems before the duo made a profit of just £490 upon sale. In fact, the combined profit from the first six cars they flipped during Series 1 was just £1,518.50. My, how things have changed.
All in all, Mike and Edd flipped some 135 cars in the years which followed and amassed a global audience of more than 138-million people. It is understandable then, that any changes made to the show’s winning formula after all that time would no doubt be met with fierce criticism and an outpouring of grief from fans – which is unfortunately exactly what happened earlier this year. I am of course talking about Edd China’s decision to leave Wheeler Dealers.
In a video posted on YouTube, Edd revealed his decision to leave centred around suggestions that the workshop aspects of the show were set to be reduced for Series 14.
Edd’s announcement came as a huge shock to Mike: “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,” he said at the time.
Speaking to TopGearbox, Mike Brewer has revealed the impact Edd’s announcement had on his family, plus his daily struggle to convince fans that his intentions for the show have only ever been good.
“The past year has been very difficult for me and my family due to the manner in which the public believe Edd China left the show,” Mike says. “Edd posted numerous videos explaining his reasons for leaving – he has in effect shown his hand and declared his position. The reasons he talks about are clear, concise and now out there. These are Edd’s reasons whether I agree or not.”
“The abuse that me and my family have suffered as a result of Edd’s statements effects more than just me. It affects the crew, my friends, the fans, the charities and my employees and employers. I have been abused in the street, restaurants, supermarkets and at car shows because Edd made the decision to leave and quit the show? His reasons are clear and out there for people to draw their own conclusions.” – Mike Brewer
In the months following Edd’s announcement, Mike has struggled in vain to try and reassure fans that contrary to what was said, the upcoming series of Wheeler Dealers would be ‘business as usual’.
“They feared, based solely on Edd’s statement, the worst for the future of Wheeler Dealers, a car show the fans care deeply about,” he says. “It has taken some months and some patience against a continued tide of abuse to reach where we are today. Now that the public can finally see the show, it was in fact as I had said all along.”
“I wish to make it perfectly clear that at no point was Edd ever asked to have his role in the program reduced. And please remember I never even knew he was going. Edd never told me.” – Mike Brewer
Mike also took a moment to discuss the infamous video which emerged online earlier this month of him talking about Edd at a classic car show in the US, suggesting it appeared to be far more damning than it was in reality.
“The video was shown out of context as it is just an edited shorter clip from a much longer video in which I actually praise Edd,” Mike maintains. “I of course stand by what I said in the shorter edited version. I echoed a fact, which is well known within production, that in Edd’s world he had become a star so he had the ability to pick and choose what he wanted to do on the program.”
“I also went on to explain that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last 13 years working with him and I wish him all the best. If Edd took offence to this then he knows he can contact me,” Mike added.
Whichever side of the fence you currently sit on, one thing you can be sure of is that Mike’s fierce defence of Wheeler Dealers reveals just how important the long-running show is to him.
“I live and breathe this show I nurtured over the past thirteen years,” he says. “Wheeler Dealers is in effect my baby, but above that the show is my job, my livelihood, my bread winning support for my family and my career that I have proudly built over the past 20 years entertaining people on car shows.”
“Going forward, Discovery and Velocity channel have placed huge faith in me and the global brand of Wheeler Dealers. And I wish to thank them. Ant Anstead has entered the show as my new sidekick, and he is amazing, hard-working, skilled and a real orator who knows his craft exactly. The network is rightly thrilled with the results and it is through hard work, determination and pure passion for what we do that we have delivered yet another record audience show. Wheeler Dealers continues to grow.”
“I hope now the show is out that we will build on the success of the reboot and continue to deliver this amazing show that’s to be enjoyed by car fans.”