Eddi.com Ant Antead
Ant Anstead's newest project has been a long time coming — and he's more than ready to share it with the world.
The Celebrity IOU: Joyride host, 42, stars in the new Discovery+ series Radford Returns, premiering January 22, which follows the master mechanic and his three partners — car designer Mark Stubbs, former Formula One champion racecar driver Jenson Button, and business adviser Roger Behle — as they take on the challenge of reviving a once-famous car company with serious celebrity ties.
"It had this huge celebrity clientele — every member of the Beatles owned a Radford. Peter Sellers, Steve McQueen, Stirling Moss, Britt Ekland, Twiggy... If you were an 'it' person in the '60s, you owned a Radford," Anstead tells PEOPLE of the iconic British brand that was founded in 1948 by Harold Radford. "Then around the '70s, it disappeared."
Anstead and his team decided to revive the brand, he explains, and partnered up with Lotus, another British car manufacturing business that was also created in 1948. Together, the foursome designed, built, and test-drove what will be the last gas-powered supercar for Lotus (the company is switching to electric-only), as part of the Radford relaunch.
"We had the privilege — and the pressure — to build the last ever gas-powered car with Lotus. And we did it," Anstead says. "And it's all been chronicled on a TV show we've been filming over the last 18 months."
The Lotus Type 62-2 coach-built sports car was revealed at a Radford Motors gala in August, where Anstead and girlfriend Renée Zellweger made their first public appearance as a couple.
The first episode will be a two-hour special, streaming Saturday on Discovery+. Future "episodes" will be released as short films ranging in length from five to twenty-five minutes and dropping on Youtube and on social media.
Anstead promises that Radford Returns is "not just a car show," and delves into the personal lives of each of the team members as they navigate managing their lives in California alongside their big dreams for the one-of-a-kind car.
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"Building any startup is difficult. Startups consume you," Anstead says. "I have to balance and juggle everything else that I'm doing: being a parent, living my life, working on other projects, writing, relationships and friendships. And that applies to Jenson, Roger and Mark too."
"It's been a tricky year," Anstead continues. "Roger's house caught fire in the wildfires and burned to the ground, so he was displaced. Then Jenson moved house, I moved house, and Mark moved house. And we all have to juggle our own kids, and real life amongst getting a startup done. Plus, we filmed through COVID. So the show touches upon all of that."
Anstead shares daughter Amelie, 18, and son Archie, 15, with his first wife, Louise Storey, and son Hudson London, 2, with his second wife, HGTV star Christina Haack, from whom he split in September 2020.
In addition to watching for a look into the group's personal lives, Anstead says the journey towards bringing Radford back to life isn't just for motorheads.
"The great thing is the show is actually aimed at anyone," he says. "If you're a car person, great. You'll like it because there's a car thread running through. But if you're a non-car person, then I'd probably say that's even better, because that demographic of people is going to sit back and say, 'Oh wow. I never knew that.' A lot of people don't actually realize the impact cars have had on humanity, particularly today."
And if you're a history buff, even better, according to Anstead.
"A lot of detail went into it because we want to tell social history and heritage stories," he says. "So in the show, we heavily use archive [footage], and it's beautiful to sit back and watch it because you're capturing this moment in time from years and years ago that I think everyone is going to like."
Radford Returns begins streaming on Discovery+ on Saturday, January 22.