Murray Walker

The French Grand Prix may have been one of the more dramatic races in recent times, but most TV viewers will have noticed something missing. When Murray Walker stooped to dust his shoes at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, little did he think that it would lead to the 'Voice of Motorsport' being silenced for the first time in 50 years. The veteran broadcaster contrived to dislocate his hip in doing so, and was consequently forced to sit out his usual commentary duties, watching the ITV broadcast he is usually so pivotal to from his house

Murray Walker

Since the BBC radio broadcast of the non-championship 1949 British Grand Prix, the 76-year-old has not missed a single job. In fact, only recently has Walker restricted himself to Grand Prix racing, having covered everything from bikes to rallycross in the past. Even so, Walker was forced to miss a weekend's racing for the first time in living memory. Typically, Walker was on fine form and didn't miss a trick - taking the opportunity to press this journalist on the developments of the day's news! Matt Willis spoke to the legendary commentator.



Murray Walker: It's not the first Formula 1 Grand Prix I've missed. There were occasions when the British Motorcycle Grand Prix clashed with a Formula 1 Grand Prix. And as the BBC only did one motorcycle Grand Prix a year, I did that, and someone else, usually Simon Taylor, did the car Grand Prix. And I think that's happened two or three times.The description of not missing an assignment - in the sense that if I was missing the car Grand Prix, I was doing something else - is correct.



MW: Well, obviously it was very strange as I felt I ought to be somewhere else and not there. I always see the programme, but though I always see it from the commentary box and not my study, it was much the same, except for the fact that I hadn't got any need to talk about it, which makes quite a difference. I've had people suggesting that I was probably doing commentary from my chair, but of course I wasn't! When there isn't a need to do it, you don't do it, obviously! I was just like anyone else, sitting at home and watching a sporting event - albeit one that I'm normally passionately involved with normally.



MW: What really impressed me - you would expect me to say this, but it's true - is how bloody good the coverage really is. I watched everything from 12.15 to1 o'clock when the race started, then the following closing stuff until 3.15. It was on for three hours non-stop, and there was never a dull moment. I was kept fully informed as to what the hell was going on, and there were all these interesting background stories from James Allen and Louise Goodman. I was, from a viewer's point of view, most impressed with the coverage



MW: What particularaly amused me was that in the past people have been banging on about how offensive and interruptive the commercials were - but actually they didn't bother me at all! But then, the bloke who's saying that has spent a lifetime in the advertising business, so perhaps I'm biased.



MW: Yes, I look forward to being back in Austria - Of course I missed being there, but I thoroughly enjoyed the programme. But I'm walking well, I've got no pain and no discomfort. It's just a case of letting everything that was disturbed settle down again in it's own time, which it's got enough time to do. I'm going for a walk later.


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