Murray Walker is known throughout the world as the unmistakeable voice of Formula One. Developing a unique commentary style, Murray’s fever pitch “Go, Go, Go” delivery made every race seem exciting and his over-enthusiastic phraseology kept radio listeners on the edges of their seats for decades until his retirement in 2001.
Born in 1923, the young Murray followed in the wheel tracks of his famous father Graham Walker who was a pre-war motor cycle champion, winner of the Isle of Man TT, numerous Grands Prix and the BBC’s much-loved radio commentator on the sport from 1935-1962. After fighting in Europe during World War Two as a captain with the Royal Scots Greys tank regiment Murray developed a highly successful career in the advertising business.
As a hobby he competed in motor cycle sport, riding in one-day trials and six-day enduros and winning a gold medal in the prestigious international six days trial, but then chose to move into commentating. He initially commentated on motor cycle racing, working with his father, before progressing into car racing. When Graham Walker died Murray became Britain’s Number One man in motor sport with the microphone.
As the popularity of F1 grew, so did Murray’s. His passion for the sport and rapport with his fellow commentator James Hunt drew thousands of new fans to motor racing through commentaries for BBC TV. After Hunt’s death in 1993, Murray was joined in the commentary box, first by Jonathan Palmer and then, when television coverage switched to ITV, by Martin Brundle.
Murray’s awesome knowledge of the sport is apparent through his work. He lights up at the thought of watching the immortal Tazio Nuvolari, the four wheel drifts of Juan Manuel Fangio. Moss the Maestro or the championship victories of his friends Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill. His emotion at seeing Damon win the World Championship in 1996 bought a joyous tear to the eyes of his watching International public as Murray commented, “I’ve got to stop now- I’ve got a lump in my throat”.
When Murray hung up his microphone at the end of 2001 a great era came to an end, for F1 racing without him is like having Wimbledon without strawberries and cream, the boat race without Oxford and Cambridge or Cricket without the ashes but he continues to entertain with his guest appearances on TV, Online and at corporate functions.