Murray Walker


The great sports commentator Murray Walker has sadly died at the great age of 97. A tank commander in World War Two, Walker took to a career in advertising before he was known as a broadcaster. The classic “Opal fruits made to make your mouth water” was one of his, after they turned down the other option of “Opal fruits, made to make you puke”.  The enthusiastic enthusiast for all things motorsport, Murray debuted on radio commentary for the BBC in 1949, but stuck to his day job until retirement age. In 1978 he became the full time voice of Formula One race on British TV. He was so enthusiastic for the sport that it rubbed off on the viewer, with his quips and one-liners becoming as legendary as the drivers themselves. Everyone has their favourite, but here’s a few of the best:

“I’ll stop my startwatch!”

“The car in front is absolutely unique except for the one behind which is identical!”

“With half the race gone, there is half the race still to go!”

“There’s nothing wrong with the car, except its on fire.”

“His hopes, which were nil before, are absolutely zero now!”

“The status quo could well be as it was before!”

Of course when you are commenting on action taking place around 100mph in front of you, a collection of excitable moments will undoubtedly happen. Murray Walker loved Formula One and Formula One loved Murray Walker. Just look at the many, many tributes released. He was good friends with the late Graham Hill, and followed Hill’s son Damon’s career with great interest. In 1996, Damon Hill followed in his fathers footsteps, winning the Formula 1 Championship on the final day, and Walker’s emotional commentary became as part a moment of the iconic sporting moment: “He took the lead! He stayed there! And Damon Hill exits the chicane and WINS the Japanese Grand Prix, and I’ve got to stop, because I’ve got a lump in my throat…”

It wasn’t just the great moments Walker was there for. In the aftermath of the Ayrton Senna tragedy, viewers and the BBC turned to Walker to find the right words to guide them through the horrific loss. He formed a popular double act on commentary with James Hunt before Hunts sudden death in 1993.He followed Formula 1 from BBC to ITV to Sky. He won lifetime achievement awards from the RTS and BAFTA. In 2013, aged 90, he came down with cancer, and squashed it faster than a Trek redshirt. He continued to write his articles on the sport until last year.

Murray Walker was on 32 teams this year and so unlucky not to make the Drop 40.


Murray Walker
10 October 1923 – 13 March 2021
32 teams