While many people know him for his astonishing work in the automotive building world, his old career in the British TV industry or simply because of his many personal dramas, the truth is that Ant Anstead didn’t achieve international fame until appearing in the world-wide known reality TV series “Wheeler Dealers”.
Although his debut in the show was slightly shadowed by some on stage side-dramas, Ant eventually gained the hearts of the somewhat reluctant “Wheeler Dealers” audience.
Knowing how wildly popular he became through it, it’s not a wonder his exit from “Wheeler Dealers” in 2020 equally shocked and concerned his fans.
So why did he leave the show? Was it some type of problem between the cast or something else? Who was he replaced by, and what are his upcoming projects in the entertainment world? Keep with us to know all the answers and more!
Why Did Ant Leave The Show?
Seeing the nature of reality TV and the wild amount of drama the genre usually puts on the table, it’s not surprising that many people assume that every time someone leaves a show, there’s some type of negative reason behind it.
Though “Wheeler Dealers” is no stranger to off-screen issues related to the exit of former hosts, this was fortunately not the case with Ant Anstead, given that he parted ways with the show and Mike Brewer in a quit friendly light. As it happens, it all comes down to “Wheeler Dealers” returning from the US to its original studio in England, which sadly made it difficult for Ant to continue in the show, and work on other projects in the US at the same time.
The announcement was made in November 2020 through “Wheeler Dealers” official YouTube channel, in which Ant, Mike and the new host Marc “Elvis” Priestley made sure that their audience knew there weren’t any hard feelings between them.
In fact, they assured Ant would be making casual appearances in “Wheeler Dealers” future seasons, even if he wouldn’t be a regular anymore.
All in all, it’s relieving to see that despite parting ways, it all happened without any drama.
Who Was He Replaced With?
Now you know Ant Anstead is no longer in the show, you might want to know more about “Wheeler Dealers” new host Marc “Elvis” Priestley. Although he’s a relatively new face for fans of car-centered TV shows, his name is well known in the professional race world for having worked as a mechanic with high profile drivers such as Mika Hakkinen and Fernando Alonso.
However, Elvis started his career from the bottom, in London as an apprentice, eventually establishing his own racing team which took part in the Formula Ford and other British racing formulas. His expertise and ethic soon took him to higher levels, finally gaining him a place in Formula One in 2000, when he joined the McLaren Racing team.
Though being part of Lewis Hamilton’s Championship title win in 2008 was a dream come true for Elvis, the following year he retired from his career as a mechanic, and engaged in a career in communications. From then on, Elvis’ career as a sportscar reporter gained him a place in several events and shows in England, ultimately becoming co-host in the “Wheeler Dealers” spin-off “Dream Car” in early 2020, which was the first step into taking the host spot in the main show.
Why Did Edd China Leave?
While “Wheeler Dealers” is doing well nowadays, to this day many long-time fans still miss the show’s original co-host and mechanical expert Edd China.
Ever since “Wheeler Dealers” premiered in 2003, Edd and Mike Brewer worked hard together into making what the show it’s nowadays. However, it seems that behind the scenes the situation wasn’t quite as good as seen on screen.
After the 13th season, in March 2017, Edd announced his exit from “Wheeler Dealers”, quoting his unhappiness with the show’s direction for apparently losing the focus on the car repairing and rebuilding processes: ‘I feel the corners I was asked to cut compromised the quality of my work, and would erode my integrity, as well as that of the show’, he said in a YouTube video shared on his personal channel.
Although in his goodbye message Edd wished the show the best, and thanked his fans for their support, the situation took a dark turn when several enraged people threw nasty comments at the show and Mike, who was apparently even sent threats. Edd soon took to social media to condemn this behaviour, stating that though his relationship with Mike wasn’t the best at that point, they were meant to ‘get over’ it.
Why Was “Wheeler Dealers” Filmed In The US?
For a show which was born in England with an entire British cast, the reason why “Wheeler Dealers” moved its production to the US has been questioned more than once.
Starting in the eighth season, “Wheeler Dealers” had been testing the American waters by often touring the US, and eventually establishing a workshop in Huntington Beach, California in 2013. Then the next season the show made its definitive move to the US, putting the production in the hands of Discovery Studios and MotorTrend channel.
Such a drastic change was actually motivated by “Wheeler Dealers” vast success in prior years, as Mike Brewer said in a 2021 interview with Esquire Middle East: ‘it went to America in the first place because there was a demand from the American audience to have an American series’.
Choosing to stay in the US also made sense from a business perspective, as Edd China affirmed in his goodbye video from the show. In his words, the new network had issues producing “Wheeler Dealers” as it used to be, changing its format and reducing the time spent in the workshop to ‘save the production considerable time, effort and therefore money’.
Why Did The Show Move From the US?
Seeing how convenient it turned out to move “Wheeler Dealers” to America, it’s normal to wonder why the show was moved back to England in 2021.
As it happens, “Wheeler Dealers” achieved huge success while established in the US, regardless of the controversy surrounding its change of hosts and new format, but seeing that the show split its filming time between two countries, it ended up too hard to deal with. As Mike Brewer told Esquire Middle East, the complex restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 contingency in 2020 impeded the staff from normally traveling as the show’s format required them to do.
As well, Mike’s constant worry regarding his mother’s health condition led him to accept moving back to his native country as soon as it was offered, seeing the chance ‘to be back close to my family and to have another go’.
Moving such a massive production team once again mustn’t have been an easy task, but “Wheleer Dealers” did it for the second time with no problems. As Mike affirmed, it being the third time the show went through a revamp meant having another chance at creating ‘the world’s best car program’, which he and the rest of the team felt was an accomplished goal.
Who Is Ant Anstead?
Just like most people in the automotive building world, Ant Anstead’s story with cars started in his early years as a hobby, but developed into his life’s passion. Growing up building scale model kits and then proceeding to work on ‘off-the-shelf kit cars’ at 16 years old, it was already obvious what Ant wanted out of life: ‘didn’t even have a driving licence, but knew I wanted to build cars’, as he told Influx.
Although he described cars as his childhood’s ‘guilty pleasure’ given how much of a ‘nightmare’ it meant for his parents, he never stopped pursuing this passion.
Maybe that’s why he was so enamoured by his first car, a 1977 MG Midget he bought when 17 years old, naming it Bridget. The orange-coloured Midget was everything for the young Ant, who despite seeing his friends with modern models, preferred the thrill that only a true car lover could feel for a classic auto: ‘it meant absolute freedom. It meant I could go anywhere, it meant I could do anything, it meant I could pick my friends up. I loved that car’, he said in an interview with MotorTrend.
Though Ant sold Bridget in the 1990s, in 2019 he embarked on a mission to find it again.
From an early age, Ant knew cars were going to be an important part of his life. However, that doesn’t mean he didn’t try other careers before his dream of building cars became a reality.
Tonight in the USA, we pay homage to the very first #WheelerDealers as we mark 15 years since the show started… The episode airs at 9/8c on Velocity
That’s how in 1999 he became a Police Constable for Hertfordshire Constabulary, then passing on to join the Tactical Firearms Team. Although his time in England’s police forces lasted only six years, this entirely changed his perspective of life: ‘I received two commendations for bravery, and have faced a number of life threatening incidents, really opening my eyes to what humans are capable of’, he told Influx.
After leaving his police career in 2005, Ant set up his own car building garage, using all the knowledge he’d acquired since he was 18 years old. Ant’s efforts soon paid off, quickly gaining him international recognition as a builder, deservingly attracting the attention of TV producers who wanted him to use his talents in building car replicas to star on the small screen.
That being said, passion is a factor he considers key in his and everyone else’s learning path: ‘If you have a knack at being hands on and you have the love, you’ll get there’, which is quite useful advice.
Beginnings On TV
Becoming a known car builder isn’t an easy task for anyone, regardless of talent and skills. Although for Ant Anstead that dream became a reality long before the idea for his first show ever crossed the mind of a TV producer, it’s undeniable that the entertainment world played a huge role in making his name known worldwide in the automotive field.
Ant’s debut on TV came in 2014 with “For the Love of Cars”, a series which showed him and Philip Glenister as they brought life back to some of the most treasured pieces of British car history. While the show only aired for one season, it definitely opened the doors for Ant to the entertainment world, gaining him enough recognition to be cast in productions such as “Building Cars Live”, and the documentary movie “Craft: I made This”. Ant also became known for hosting car events in England, as well as for his role as an ambassador for Harrison’s Fund, a non-profit organization supporting research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Most Notable Shows
Besides being a master car builder, it’s already obvious that Ant’s talent on TV is impressive as well. Some of his most notable projects include “Craft It Yourself” and “Britain’s Greatest Invention” documentaries.
However, to date one of his most impressive projects is definitely “Ant Anstead Master Mechanic”, in which he built the 1930s Alfa Romeo 158 Grand Prix race car from scratch. Although the show hasn’t been renewed since 2019, it allowed him to showcase his impressive mechanic and steel fabricator skills in a more detailed way than in “Wheeler Dealers”, undoubtedly cementing his fame as one of the best builders in the automotive field.
What Did Ant Do After Leaving The Show?
Leaving your main source of income is a stressful situation for most people, but fortunately it wasn’t for Ant Anstead, who already had other ongoing projects by the time his leaving “Wheeler Dealers” was announced.
The first these projects was “World’s Greatest Cars”, which showed Ant and a group of automotive experts exhaustively selecting the best cars in world markets, in this six-episodes long series premiered in late 2020.
The following year, Ant took the helm of “Celebrity IOU: Joyride” with Cristy Lee, known for her work in shows such as “Garage Squad”. Together, Ant and Cristy helped several celebrities in their mission to make a loved one’s dream car come true. While there isn’t further news about “Joyride”s renewal yet, the show’s six-episodes long first season undoubtedly caused uproar for featuring stars such as James Marsden, Tony Hawk, Octavia Spencer and Renée Zellweger.
Then in 2022, Ant announced that he would be hosting and producing “Radford Returns”, along with Jenson Button, Roger Behle and Mark Stubbs, all of whom accepted the challenge of bringing the legendary Radford Motors back to life, not only for the TV show but also in real life. Despite it looking like a risky business decision, “Radford Returns” is right up Ant’s alley as a luxury car builder and TV host.
Stand-by to enjoy another series showcasing Ant Anstead’s fascinating skills in vehicle construction and maintenance.