Sunday, 14 March 2021

Commentator Murray Walker had passed away, aged 97

His voice came to define Formula 1 for generations of fans – but this weekend it was announced that legendary commentator Murray Walker had passed away, aged 97.

There are few words that can adequately describe a man that was the voice of Formula for so long.  But he was more than just a commentator,  he was a war veteran and former motorcycle racer and trials champion, Walker’s broadcasting career began in 1948 at the Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, going on to cover a whole world of motorsports, including truck racing and rallycross.

Yet is was Formula 1 where Murray Walker found a home and came to prominence, becoming the BBC’s full-time commentator from 1978. Can you believe, he only retired from full time commentating after the 2001 United States Grand Prix – although, his words of wisdom were often called by those inside the media and the sport in general. 

As a viewer, a fan, there was something wonderfully warm and engaging about Murray's commentary and his personality.  He was a fan like the rest of the audience,  his enthusiasm was infectious and his knowledge was deep and intricate. He had the ability to make you - the audience,  feel included in what was occurring on the track, despite being thousands of miles away watching on a small tv screen. He also had the uncanny ability of when to explain something and when not to. 

Murray was, for so long the voice of F1, moving with the sport when it went from the BBC to ITV,  "I always hear his voice in my head at the start of a race,  go go go,  he's shouting." remembers F1 fan, Jason Shaw,  "For as long as I can remember, Murray was the commentator on F1,  often alongside James Hunt, they were as different as chalk and cheese, but they seemed to rub along ok,  they must have done for they worked together for something like 10 years!. Then came the Murray - Brundle partnership, which I remember fondly.  Yes, he made some mistakes, he said some odd things at times,  most of which became known as Murryisms, but that just endured him further into our affections. Whilst he is now at peace,  the F1 world has lost one of its greatest and loudest cheerleaders, I have little doubt that it was Murray Walker and his commentary that got hundreds and thousands of people interested in F1 over the years".

Murray Walker,  we salute you for everything you did for motor-sport and F1,  but most of all,  we thank you, for the entertainment,  for the words and not least, we thank you for the introduction to a sport that has captivated us for a lifetime. 

Some other tributes to Murray Walker.

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