Murray Walker is an institution. When the man who made famous the catchphrase 'Unless I'm very much mistaken... I AM very much mistaken!!!' announced that he was retiring as ITV's Grand Prix commentator at the end of the 2001 season, the media reacted as if the sport itself was losing one of its biggest stars.
His reputation for mistakes was the making of Walker. He was the fan who happened to be given the keys to the commentary box - and never wanted to give them back. His high-octane delivery kept viewers on the edge of their seats, while his passion for talking about the sport he loved was matched by an all-encompassing knowledge gained through hours of painstaking research before every race.
In fact he's a throwback to another age who managed to survive and indeed prosper from the revolutions in motor racing. Murray writes about his childhood and the influence that his father, British motorcycle champion Graham Walker, had on his career. Failing to match his father's achievements on the track, he made a successful career for himself in advertising which catapulted him to the top of his profession.
An offer from the BBC to take over the commentary seat for their F1 broadcasts was manna from heaven for Walker, and it wasn't long before the infamous 'Murrayisms' enlivened a sport which until then had been shrouded in a cloak of unfathomable technical jargon and mind-numbing statistics. He also talks about the biggest changes in the sport over the last 50 years, in particular the safety issues which came to the fore after the tragic death of Ayrton Senna. His partnership with James Hunt behind the microphone is the subject of some hilarious anecdotes, while his views on drivers make for fascinating listening.
©2002 Murray Walker (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
This is a great listen, having grown up with Murray as the voice of F1, it was awesome to hear the great man himself tell me about his early life, WWII exploits and life before the legendary commentary job took firm hold. Jumps about a little but this is endearing just like listening to his race coverage. Recommended thoroughly.
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