I am very sorry to say, that after 13 years on the show, I am leaving Wheeler Dealers.
Wheeler Dealers is a great car show, reportedly the biggest on the planet at the moment. It is broadcast in about 220 territories around the globe and apparently has several hundred million viewers worldwide. This success would not have been possible without the huge collaborative effort put in by the production team over the years but most of all because of the loyalty and appreciation of our fans who have kept watching, in ever increasing numbers around the globe. Because you kept watching it; we kept making it. So thank you all for that.
Making Wheeler Dealers is no easy task and every episode requires a massive effort from a dedicated team of people. We started, all those years ago, on a niche channel in the UK with just a small production: Michael Wood and Dan Allum; the founders of Attaboy TV and originators of the show, one production manager, a camera man, a sound man and Mike and myself. One hundred and thirty five cars later we have grown to a production team of over forty five staff, and we are now entertaining much of the TV watching planet. It’s been quite a ride.
It was exactly the worldwide popularity of Wheeler Dealers and sheer size of the audience, coupled with the lack of product placement and brand endorsements within the show which meant that Discovery US and Velocity Channel saw an opportunity for further exploitation of the brand and so, after season twelve, the show commission was taken over by Velocity Channel in the US, who decided to replace Attaboy TV with Discovery Studios in California.
Unfortunately, on Velocity’s first attempt at producing the show they found Wheeler Dealers ‘too difficult to make’, ‘at least in its current format’. In particular, 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. 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.
Wheeler Dealers has been an enormous part of my life since 2002, a real roller coaster of demanding challenges and triumphant moments. It has been a privilege to meet and work with so many great people and, from the workshop to the joy rides, to be allowed to experience so many fabulous cars and amazing locations. Leaving the show at the height of its success has been a really tough decision to make but I believe the time is right for me to spread my wings. Sometimes you’ve just got to break free from the confines of your rut and head for the far horizon.
I would like to thank Attaboy TV, Mike, our incredible crew, and everyone who has contributed to making such a great programme for all of these years. A special thank you must go to every one of our fans for watching these past thirteen series, it has been great having you along for the ride, your appreciation means so much.
Mike and Velocity will continue to make Wheeler Dealers, apparently with Ant Anstead taking my place in the workshop, so new episodes will be on your screens in due course. Being the new boy is never easy, so please give Ant your support, I wish him the very best of luck. It will certainly be nice to see Mike turn up at the workshop with yet another wreck knowing I don’t have to do any of the work!
As for me, I am already working on some great new projects which will expand my world in new directions and, as I will have a bit of time on my hands, I’ll even start to put some things up on my youTube channel, so keep an eye out for that. Right now though, I just feel relieved and exhilarated with freedom and I can’t wait to get cracking on the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
For years Discovery have been encouraging everyone to: ‘make your world bigger’ – and that is exactly what I am now doing.