Top tip: Edd China, the handyman-host of TV's "Wheeler Dealers" is stepping down to pursue other interests, he announced this week.
It's the latest in a series of changes Discovery Channel's Velocity network has made to the show since taking control of it a few years ago—and it's by far the biggest.
Ant Anstead, host of the British program "For the Love of Cars" will replace China moving forward.
China doesn't really hold back in the video posted to his YouTube channel. He praises the show's early days and has kind words to say about the British production team and his car buying co-host, Mike Brewer, but he's less complimentary of how Velocity continues to rework the formula.
"Wheeler Dealers" launched more than a dozen years ago in the United Kingdom with a tiny production staff and a tired 1983 Porsche 924. With a £1,000 budget, Brewer found the car and dragged it to China's small shop. Half an hour worth of fixes later (at least in TV time), the two had a presentable front-engine Porsche that they promptly sold for £1,500. Subsequent episodes saw the stakes grow as Brewer sought out increasingly costlier and more complex cars, often to China's mock chagrin.
But things changed a few years on as the show became more and more popular. Discovery slowly began moving China's garage to California. Budgets ballooned—both for the show itself and Brewer's car-buying purse—but the grassroots feel began to fade. China took on far more serious projects, the kind well out of an average home restorer's wheelhouse. Details were glazed over and the show began to feel far more, for lack of a better term, Americanized.
"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," China said in the video announcement.
True, "Wheeler Dealers" has become more popular, but it is also far less relatable for hobbyists looking to pick up something cheap and learn a thing or two about fixing their cars.
Brewer told Britain's Car Dealer Magazine that he's "upset and gutted" about China's decision.
"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," Brewer said.
But China hasn't closed the rusty car door just yet. He says that there's more on the horizon and that he'll continue to update his YouTube channel.
Perhaps he'll find a way to go back to the grassroots feel that made "Wheeler Dealers" popular in the first place.