The voice of British motorsport, TV commentator Murray Walker, has passed away aged 97. Although best known as the voice of Formula One car racing, he spent much of his younger years commentating on motorcycle action. Here is calling a 1965 BBC Grandstand scramble, and later at Hawkstone in 1987.
From the Isle of Man TT to the BBC Grandstand scrambles and even motocross at the Fox and Hounds circuit, he was a bike fan.
His dad Graham was a works Norton racer who later worked for Rudge and Sunbeam, and later took up radio commentary on racing.
Murray fought in the second world war then worked for Dunlop but was inspired by his dad to take up road racing where he raced against John Surtees, then enduro and trials where and won a gold medal in the ISDT and the Scottish Six-Days Trial.
He later moved into advertising where he came up with the famous advertising line: “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play” as well as “Opal Fruits, made to make your mouth water.”
Walker and his father were the single father and son sports commentary pair within the BBC from 1949 to 1962. After the death of his father in 1962, he became the BBC’s chief motorcycling commentator. From there, he dominated TV commentary in motorsport.
He was awarded an OBE, Doctor of Letters and a BAFTA for his work in TV commentary.
He is also very famous for many of his on-air gaffes, which include:
This circuit is interesting because it has inclines and declines. Not just up, but down as well.
The lead car is unique, except for the one behind it which is identical.
You might not think that’s cricket, and it’s not, it’s motor racing.
Schumacher wouldn’t have let him past voluntarily. Of course he did it voluntarily, but he had to do it.
I don’t make mistakes. I make prophecies which immediately turn out to be wrong.
He will be missed by all who had the pleasure of meeting him or listening to him. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.