Was Edd China right? Have Wheeler Dealers reduced workshop time?


The deepest wounds often take years to heal, and such is the case with one of the world’s most popular car shows Wheeler Dealers. After 13 years and some 135 cars, Edd China parted ways with the show almost a year ago with suggestions that Velocity planned to reduce the workshop aspect for Series 14. Edd clearly wasn’t happy, and fans were livid.

“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 said at the time. “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 co-host Mike Brewer was quick to counter China’s claims: “There’s no way on earth that anyone has ever suggested that the mechanical content of the show is going to be reduced,” Brewer said. “Where that came from, I don’t know. It is not going to be reduced, Discovery channel are not going to change the format one iota.”

So this got us thinking – considering that the workshop forms the backbone of what makes Wheeler Dealers so popular, has anything really changed with the amount of time devoted to it? And who was telling the truth – Mike or Edd?

Well ready the stopwatches, because we’re about to find out!

Wheeler Dealers workshop time – Edd vs Ant

The idea for this analysis is actually rather simple – we chose four random Wheeler Dealers episodes from the Edd China dynasty to try and get a decent cross-section of the workshop times involved. We then watched the episodes through and timed only the segments which showed Edd working on something – and excluded the times where nothing mechanical was actually going on. For example, if Mike and Edd were just talking in the workshop it didn’t count, and neither did the bits where Mike went out to buy or refinish parts. Just Edd’s work, pure and simple. Here’s how it turned out:

Edd China episode workshop times:

As you might have noticed, the times above are far from consistent – but they do give you a rough indication of the amount of time typically devoted to Edd’s work. Around 19 to 20 minutes per episode – sometimes more, sometimes less. Some variance is to be expected, as some cars require more work than others.

And now for the comparison. We chose four random episodes from Wheeler Dealers Series 14 – the Ant Anstead dynasty – and applied the same logic to the time Ant spent working or explaining how to fix things.

Ant Anstead episode workshop times:

So what can we gather from this information? Although two of the episodes we checked from Wheeler Dealers Series 14 did contain around 18 to 19 minutes of workshop time, the remaining two episodes fell well short of the times we’ve come to expect. Episode 3 contained just over 11 minutes of workshop fixes – with the remaining 33 minutes of the show devoted to other things.

If you calculate the averages of the figures above, the average amount of workshop time for the Edd China episodes comes in at 20 minutes 31 seconds. And for Ant Anstead? An average of just 15 minutes 30 seconds. That’s an average of 5 minutes less time spent in the workshop per episode for Series 14 – or a reduction of around 25% which is a bit disappointing.

So although the Wheeler Dealers format we all know and love hasn’t really changed all that much – apart from a new face – there is a very real possibility that what we’re getting episodes with lighter workshop elements because it is cheaper and easier for Velocity to film.

We’ll continue to keep an eye on Wheeler Dealers as Series 14 continues later this year, to see whether the reduced workshop times continue, or if the episodes we checked are simply the odd ones out. But for now, it sort of looks like Edd China might have been right.


  1. While your calculations may indeed prove Edd was right, that doesn’t explain that Ant gets far more done in less time, and in a far more interesting way than Edd ever did. Ant is a breath of fresh air for Wheeler Dealers and a much better presenter than Edd.

  2. To be honest. It’s done and dusted now. Water under the bridge. Edd is very good but then so is Ant. Mike chose Ant to move forwards with and that they have done. Would I like more workshop time. Yes! Howwever, the program has to suit everyone so a compromise is needed.
    Let’s just hope that Edd does his own thing (Maybe like Mark Evans did) and the viewers will be the winners as there will be two excellent programs to watch with very capable people presenting then

  3. Not only the workshop time has suffered, but the quality as well. I used to feel I was sharing the project – diagnosing the problem, working out how to get to awkward bolts – now there is no information I find useful, or could not get more directly elsewhere. Forgot to look up from my iphone after the third ad.

  4. Not me the new Top gear and new Wheeler dealer on the never to watch list .

    ill still watch the old ones but never the new , at least top gear lads were descent enough to not carry on not fastso though

  5. I completely agree, Ant knocks the suspension to bits and then wallah the cars painted and has a lot of new stuff on, Ant is a seriously good welder though. Ed used to show how to tune carbs, how to crimp lines, lots and lots of stuff for an amateur gear head to watch, he often got help from experts too, one time setting the carbs up on a Lamborghinni, how many times has anyone seen that eh? AlexM, Canada

  6. It’s a matter of personalities as much as anything. The different characteristics or personal traits of Edd and Ant on camera at least are obviously going to be different. Edd was on the show 13 years. The “Tall Man” was, and still is to an extent, synonymous with the show. Change after so long is obviously going to seriously divide opinion. For my part, I believe the show has lost a little something with Edd’s departure. Having said that, I’ll give Ant a chance to stamp his own mark on the show. Suffice to say he is definitely used to being in front of the camera. I still cringe a bit watching Edd’s first few episodes on the show. His eventual makeover, (that initial early hair do he had.. oh dear)and confidence and ability in front of camera took time. Fair comment here that Ant is clearly used to being in front of the cameras. That said, if his engineering skills are on a par with EDd’s then I’ll be happy..well ish

    • Edd China has a university degree in engineering as well as having built numerous wacky vehicles that are in the Guinness book of world records, Ant Anstead is nothing but a self taught talentless famehunter.

  7. Why would anyone want more workshop time for Ant Anstead as he’s an unnatural presenter, he’s more akin to a Saturday morning children’s television presenter.

  8. WD has been my favorite Velocity Channel show since I started watching 5 years ago. I enjoyed it when Edd was Mike’s side-kick and I enjoy it as much with Ant. I think there is a perfect balance between Mikes “art of the deal” performances and Ant’s mechanical wizardry. Not least of all, I find entertainment value of their often humorous interaction. I am impressed with Ant’s broad knowledge of mechanical fixes for whatever wreck Mike is able to bring wheezing into the shop. Though I can’t figure out why Ant isn’t wearing protective gloves when he’s messing with solvents and the like.

  9. ed series is way much better…now I have stopped watching wheeler due to this new guy and very little talk on mechanical…

  10. New series not anywhere near as good as the original series, are we really interested in the American version? having watched two episodes, unlikely to watch further ones! Edd was the star of the original show, Mike was interesting to listen to when buying the vehicles and driving them to the garage. A good show cut back for financial reasons!

  11. Get rid of Brewer – oh sorry you can’t. It’s the Brewer Show. Edd was right to go, and I feel sorry for Ant having to work with such an irritating psuedo cockney “dealer”. And why shift it all to the USA? Haven’t we got enough with Kindig, Fast n’ Loud, Chasing Cars, Misfit Garage et all??? WD has just lost another viewer.

  12. The new series seems to have departed from the original spirit of the show-that is reviving classic British cars!! I understand that Velocity is now bankrolling the show and, judging by the ever increasing cast list the show has become too unwieldy and has lost it’s relevance to British audiences. Whilst the American cars programmes are interesting the concept of the original programme is getting lost amongst the trucks and gimmicky autos.
    The British series was seen as something an enthusiastic amateur could undertake on classic British cars. Given that the show is now geared to the American market, it has lost it’s naive charm. Surely there must be some British classics still out there?
    Are the days of Ed taking the car to the spray shop himself or refurbishing the alloy wheels with a scrubbing brush gone forever, only to be replaced by comments like “the car is back from the sprayers” or “the wheels are back from the refurbishers”
    Bring the show back to blighty and get back to basics!!!

  13. I’d be interested to see Edd’s time if it was measured using only more recent seasons. Early seasons had more time spent on the history of the car model and the hunt / purchase. If you notice Edd’s times increased over the years.

    • Well. .. there is something to be said about comparing the later episodes of Eddwith those of Ant: this is what it was when Edd left, so that is what we, the viewers know and love.

      And a 25% reduction is significant.

      On a personal note: without Edd I never would have done simple repairs on my car, because I never would have known how simple those jobs would have been.

  14. Watch it if you want, don’t if it’s not for you. Bunch of sulking women, I thought it was a show for men and cars.

    • I agree, The program now is for that kind of full tattooed and stinking fans of noisy cars! ‘Men’, as you say.

  15. I still watch, but it’s not nearly as “instructive” or “comprehensive” as it used to be. The show has more “production value” but it really doesn’t teach us anything anymore. We rarely see body work, painting, interiors, or any of the more fiddly work we used to see with Edd, and those are all part of the whole. We’re getting short-changed.

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