Murray Walker

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Murray Walker

Born

10/10/1923, Birmingham

Birth Name

Graeme Murray Walker

Gender

Male

Also Known As

Murray Walker, Murrey Walker
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Biography

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Graeme Murray Walker (known as Murray Walker; born 10 October 1923 in Hall Green, Birmingham, England) was a Formula 1 (F1) motorsport commentator. He was educated at Highgate School and Sandhurst, and for most of his career he worked for the BBC, but when it lost the contract…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Murray came out of retirement to commentate the 2007 Race of Champions for Sky Sports live coverage.

    • Murray, who retired in 2001, returned to the commentary booth for the 2007 German Grand Prix, filling in for BBC Five Live's David Croft, whose wife was expecting a baby that weekend. Murray also hosted a special F1 edition of the BBC Five Live's 606 phone-in on the Saturday evening.

    • During the 2001 Canadian Grand Prix, Murray crossed to Louise Goodman for an interview in the pits, referring to her as "Louise Allen", getting her confused with the other pit-lane reporter, James Allen. After doing this twice, Louise got her revenge by switching back to him, referring to him as "Murray Brundle".

    • Murray, commentating on rallycross from Lydden, describes how a BMW driver has cut holes in his windscreen so that his visibility is improved in all the muck... as he is doing so, the car crashes heavily into an earth bank...

    • When he was young, Murray was an advertising executive and handled the accounts of nurmerous blue-chip firms.

    • Murray left the BBC in 1997 and moved to ITV where he continued to commentate Formula One grands prix.

    • Murray was offered the chance to come out of retirement and 'call' the 2006 Australian GP in Melbourne. He declined the offer but did provide special comments during the practice and qualifying sessions.

    • In 1949, Murray became a sports commentator, with his first job being to cover the British F1 GP at Silverstone for BBC Radio.

    • Murray's father was a motorcycle TT champion.

    • Murray served in World War 2.

    • Murray has released his autobiography entitled, Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken.

    • In 2006, Murray was employed as the F1 Ambassador for the Honda F1 Racing team.

    • Muray Walker is a famous Formula One commentator. Equally famous for his goofs and excitable manner while commentating.

  • Quotes

    • Murray: (on commentating the 2007 Race of Champions) The Race of Champions is a brilliant concept and it's going to be a fantastic occasion. The driver line-up is great and the venue unique. I'm raring to get into the Sky Sports commentary box. The prospect of seeing Michael Schumacher back in the seat is mouth-watering. I also can't wait to see how the likes of Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Andy Priaulx get on against him too.

    • Murray: (following Lewis Hamilton first win in F1) It's more than feasible that he could win the Championship this year, which would be incredible. There aren't enough superlatives for what Lewis Hamilton is doing race after race. He has been on the podium for six successive grands prix, it is unprecedented in the history of Formula One. I've been watching Formula One since it began and I have never seen anything like this in my life, it is quite incredible. But let's not forget if he did not have the right car or the right infrastructure that McLaren have provided him with, he wouldn't be able to exploit his natural talent. It takes two to make a bargain. The only thing that worries me about Hamilton's situation is the pressure he is getting from the media. With the British Grand Prix coming up the press will go berserk. We mustn't go overboard too soon, he's driven in six F1 races but to rank him with other greats would be much, much too early.

    • Murray: (revealing where he'd been when Jenson Button took his first victory) My wife had persuaded me to go on a cruise to Greenland. I asked one of the stewards, who was German, to find out who had won the Hungarian Grand Prix. Nothing interesting ever happens at the Hungaroring, I thought. He came back and told me the winner was Jenson Button. I told him "In English there's an expression called "a wind up'"!

    • Murray: (after Michael Schumacher retired from F1 at the end of the '06 season) I think he is the greatest. Before I think it was Fangio, but when you look at what Michael Schumacher has done over a 15-year career, which is incredibly long, he has been at the top all the time. Not just in terms of race wins and championships, but what he has done out of the cockpit in terms of bringing Ferrari back, it's an unparalleled and unequalled achievement.

    • Murray: (after Michael Schumacher retired from F1) I have always regarded the comparatively few things Michael has done which were reprehensible as being 'professional fouls', which doesn't condone them but does excuse them. He never did anything, in my opinion, with malice aforethought, it was done in the heat of the moment. But against his unbeatable achievements, they pale into insignificance for me.
      He is a fantastic driver and a really nice person outside of the car. He is an extremely realistic, sensible, pragmatic, feet-on-the-ground, head-out-of-the-clouds man.
      It's inevitable that some people are going to like him and some are going to dislike him, but in my experience he was never anything other than extremely friendly, extremely helpful, very cheerful and a thoroughly nice bloke to be with.
      He gave anonymously £10million to the tsunami appeal and he's a good egg.

    • Murray: This race will actually develop into a Grand Prix.

    • Murray: There's a car coming into the pits now, they're so unreliable with all those electronics on board.
      James: Actually, Murray, one of his wheels has just fallen off!

    • Murray: (as he prepares to drive an F1 car) They say clothes maketh the man... the clothes are Niki Lauda's, but the contents are me..."

      [He gets a total distance of... oh, 1 foot before he stalls it.] (Apparently, this was the second attempt to film Murray in an F1 McLaren - the first, earlier that day, had gone very well, but for technical reasons couldn't be used!)

    • Murray: (on Michael Schumacher's retirement) He has broken every record in the book, has money in the bank, a loving family and lots of lovely homes but it will be very, very difficult for him to find a replacement in his life for what Formula One has given him.

    • Murray: (following Michael Schumacher's announcement that he would retire at the end of the 2006 season) I'm sad to see the end of an era because this is one of the truly greatest drivers of all time that we're going to look back at, like I look back at [Juan Manuel] Fangio, and talk about for a long time to come.
      But he's broken every record in the book, he's got a few quid in the bank, he's got a loving wife and two kids, some lovely homes, he's got the rest of his life in front of him – I think he's done the right thing but it's going to be very, very difficult for him to replace in his life what Formula 1 has done for him.
      He's been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and as I say I'm sad to see him go, but all good things come to an end.
      The man is a genius, he continues to be a genius and I think he's done exactly the right thing to go out on the very highest note.

    • Murray: (inventing time travel, Imola, 27th. April 1997) ...and if you look back 4 seconds...no, 31 seconds...!

    • Murray: It's not quite a curve, it's a straight actually.

    • Murray: I'll stop my startwatch.

    • Murray: Eddie Irvine is in the pit lane.
      Camera flashes to an empty Ferrari pit with mechanics milling about.
      Martin: I think he ... ahh ... didn't come in.

    • Murray: and this is Ralf Schumacher the youngest driver in f1 at only 21 year old, and of course he is the son of twice world champion Michael!
      *** Any rumours that Gina Maria Schumacher already has an F3000 drive are entirely false, of course!

    • Murray: (referring to Jacques' illness during a GP) And remember that Jacques Villeneuve is a SICK man.

    • Murray: Nigel Mansell is the last person in the race apart from the five in front of him.

    • Murray: Nigel Mansell had a problem with the wheel-nut on his Williams, then he went on to win brilliantly for Ferrari!

    • Murray: Into lap 53, the penultimate last lap but one.

    • Murray: There are seven winners of the Monaco Grand Prix on the starting line today, and four of them are Michael Schumacher.

    • Murray: So this being Michael Schumacher's 10th race in his 151st year in F1.

    • Murray: Mansell is slowing it down, taking it easy. Oh no he isn't! It's a lap record.

    • Murray: Fantastic! There are four different cars filling the first four places.

    • Murray: And Michael Schumacher is 37 seconds ahead, so he can refuel the car, change all four wheels, take off his helmet, have a smoke and a cup of tea, and rejoin in first.

    • Murray: (qualifying Imola '97) Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The man with all the luck, and it's all bad.

    • Murray: And look at that tyre! Someone had better go and get that quickly.
      [As if on cue, marshall runs out and grabs it]
      WELL DONE LAD!!!!!
      *** Monza 96. Remember those stupid tyre stacks on the kerbs which got scattered around the track on the first lap? Camera cuts to single tyre in the middle of the track.

    • Murray: (Suzuka, 1996, talking about when he was hit by a wheel) It hit me, and I felt it.

    • Murray: (describing a pit stop) And he's done that in a whisker under 10 seconds, call it 9.7 in round figures.

    • Murray: The two Britons running in second and third, Irvine and Fisichel...Herb...er...oh..."

    • Murray: And Olivier Panis justifiably wins such a well deserved Grand Prix!
      *** Hill, Schumacher, Alesi, Berger and Villeneuve all came off and only 4 out of 20 drivers finished.

    • Murray: ..and Damon Hill is following Damon Hill'

    • Clive Walker: In his quieter moments he sounds like his trousers are on fire.

    • Murray: He's watching us from hospital with his injured knee.

    • Murray: There goes Panis in the Prost. For years we knew them as Ligiers, because that is what they were called.

    • Murray: The car in front is absolutely unique – except for the one behind it, which is identical.

    • Murray: And Damon Hill is six.....1!2!3!4!5!6! seconds ahead!", "Schumacher started 22nd- he's gone past 21!20!19!18!17!.

    • Murray: Anything can happen in Grand Prix racing, and it usually does.

    • Murray: And Hill congratulates Schumacher. They're not bosom buddies, but they're not far off!
      *** Hill was actually criticising Schumacher for heavy-handed driving tactics after the 1995 Belgian GP.

    • Murray: (as Nelson Piquet pulled into the pits for a tyre change in his Brabham) I'll stop my start watch.

    • Murray: (after Frentzen spins in Monaco qualifying) And look at his hands there. It's amazing what can happen if you press the wrong button; you can wind up getting a drink instead of maximum throttle.

    • Murray: Are they on a one-stopper? Are they on a two? And when I say they, who do I mean? Well, I don't know. It could be anybody.

    • Murray: I'm in my usual state up here in the commentary box: high tension, heart beating like a trip hammer, whatever that is.

    • Murray: (hey, kids, learn to count with Murray...) They're now on lap 68, which means there's one, two, three, four, five laps to go before the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix

    • Murray: Stop! Stop! Look! Look! It's a Williams, and I'm guessing that's Jacques Villeneuve, I can't tell you for sure because I can't see from here. And so Villeneuve retires .... it's Hill! Damon Hill is out of the Monza Grand Prix!

    • Murray: (as Schumacher comes out of pit lane ahead of Villeneuve) And Schumacher overtakes Villeneuve. Oh, no he doesn't! Oh, yes he does!

    • Murray: People ask me who's going to be the next Hill, the next Schumacher, and I keep saying to watch out for Mika Salo.
      *** Salo crashes a few laps later

    • Murray: James has just nipped out to have a look at the far side of the circuit.
      *** Actually James Hunt would leave the commentary box to smoke a joint!

    • Murray: We're now on the 73rd lap and the next one will be the 74th.

    • Murray: He's going for it! OH MY GOODNESS...HE'S THROOOOOOUGH!!!
      *** Possibly Murray's most ecstatic moment when Mansell passed Senna to win in Hungary after starting well down the grid.

    • Murray: (after Derek Warwick spun at Monaco & ending up facing the wrong way) Now he must not go the wrong way round the circuit, and unless he can spin himself stationary through 360 degrees I fail to see how he can avoid doing so.

    • Murray: I like to think I come over as a slightly over-the-top enthusiast. It is a very exciting sport after all.

    • Murray: I am inclined to go over the top and I know it. I am communicating an electric situation.

    • Murray: (on his style of commentary) I don't make mistakes. I make prophecies which immediately turn out to be wrong.

    • Murray: Now the Frenchman Jacques Lafitte is as close to Surer as Surer is to Lafitte.

    • Murray: Alain Prost is in a commanding second place.

    • Murray: The atmosphere is so tense you could cut it with a cricket stump.

    • Murray: And now the boot is on the other Schumacher.

    • Murray: An Achilles heel for the McLaren team this year, and it's literally the heel because it's the gearbox.

    • Murray: Nigel Mansell - the man of the race - the man of the day - the man from the Isle of Man.

    • Murray: (at Belgium '96) ...and now, just in case there is any CONFUSION (operative term here) this is the race order on lap 19: David Coulthard leads and has yet to stop; Hakkinen leads and has yet to stop...

    • Murray: And the Williams pit are getting ready for Hill, the tyre coolers are coming off.

    • As an introductory piece for a rallysprint race, Murray was put in the Navigator's seat alongside Tony Pond in a Chevette HSR (270 BHP, rwd, and TWITCHY), added an in-car camera, and wired Murray for sound. The result can be deduced by extrapolating his usual excitement and enthusiasm, and adding a large pinch of raw terror!

      Murray: And there's a 600 foot drop on my left..AND we're doing 120 mph... AND we're approaching a hairpin...OH MY GOD we're going to die...

    • Murray: And there's a dry line appearing in the tunnel [pause while he realises what he's just said] Obvious really as it has a roof.

    • Murray: And Damon Hill is coming into the pit lane, yes it's Damon Hill coming into the Williams pit, and Damon Hill in the pit, no it's Michael Schumacher!

    • Murray: And we have had 5 races so far this year, Brazil, Argentina, Imola, Schumacher and Monaco!

    • Murray: That's not four tenths of a second. Look at it. It's Michael Schumacher.

    • Murray: The Benetton handling superbly as ever. Williams have worked very very hard on this car at the beginning of the season.

    • Murray: And an enormous gap now building before Mika Hakkinen goes through in third place. When I say enormous, it's one and a half seconds.

    • Murray: (as the French coverage flips back and forth, missing the interesting bits) It's not my job to produce the programme, so I'll say nothing!

    • Murray: I hate to be a Jeremiah, but I have to tell you that the clouds are lowering...

    • Murray: ...Schumacher crosses the line to start another lap, and there's nothing there!

    • Murray: Hill, Hill ... Hill is in, he's beneath me now.. .and he's got slicks! its slicks! He got a new set of slicks! this is strange.
      *** It was raining!

    • Murray: Oh that's the Forti, and, it looks like, err, its Roberto Moreno's car , the err Brazilian .. I was going to say the elderly Brazilian he's only 36 but he's actually the oldest driver in the race at the present moment, though he's just retired from it!

    • Murray: Andrea de Cesaris...the man who has won more Grands Prix than anyone else without actually winning one of them.

    • Murray: As you can see, visually, with your eyes...

    • Murray: Alesi is in second place and Hill is in second place...

    • Murray: And there are flames coming from the back of Prost's car as he enters the swimming pool.
      James: Well, that should put them out then.

    • Murray: This has been a great season for Nelson Piquet, as he is now known, and always has been.

    • Murray: ...and Blundell is doing very well in sixth position...in fact he's lapping 2.5 seconds faster than Blundell who is in fifth position.

    • Murray: And the first five places are filled by five different cars.

    • Murray: Ukyo Katayama is undoubtedly the best formula 1 driver that grand prix racing has ever produced.
      *** Then again, there's probably people on the net who believe this...

    • Murray: So now you're looking at the battle between Frentzen and Herbert for 7th place. Heinz Harald Frentzen in the Sauber Mercedes behind Johnny Herbert, behind him Johnny Herbert in his first race in the Ligier Renault...

    • Murray: (Andretti is touring on three wheels, having hit something solid) ...and Andretti is going very slowly - he must have an electrical problem of some sort...

    • Murray: Martin's got a bald spot - he won't be pleased...
      *** Germany, 1994, as Brundle retires, and climbs out of the car. Murray stops talking about the broken McLaren as soon as he sees Martin's head.

    • Murray: (Italy 1994) the enthusiastic enthusiasts...

    • Murray: I'm applying intelligence and observation to the situation...

    • Murray: The Italian GP at Monaco...

    • Murray: You can't see a digital clock because there isn't one.

    • Murray: Tambay's hopes, which were nil before, are absolutely zero now.

    • Murray: ...the lead is now 6.9 seconds. In fact it's just under 7 seconds.

    • Murray: Yes Michael Schumacher leading Damon Hill by four tenths of a second or so, because it's moving...[cut to Hill under Schu's rear wing] AND THAT'S NOT FOUR TENTHS OF A SECOND! That's Michael Schumacher!

    • Murray: And Alesi spins there...spins out of the race, surely... "Yes!...NO! Alesi manages to keep the engine, does not stall, but of course he will have lost the place I think. No! he's kept the place.

    • Murray: We're watching the Finnish Driver who is third, but he won't for very much llllong...oh yeah, he might be actually.

    • Murray: Only a few more laps to go and then the action will begin, unless this is the action, which it is.

    • Murray: This is an interesting circuit because it has inclines, and not just up, but down as well.

    • Murray: ....and he's lost both right front tyres!
      *** which may have been accurate back in the days of the Tyrrell P34, but it was from 1995!

    • [after a post race interview with Mansell after the Austrian GP 1987]
      Murray: How did you get that nasty bumb on your head Nigel?"
      [Nigel leans forward to show the camera as Murray pokes it with his finger!]
      Nigel : "OUCH!!"

    • Murray: He is shedding buckets of adrenalin in that car"

    • Murray: And there's the man in the green flag!

    • Murray: I've never made any secret of the fact that Australia is by far my favourite Grand Prix country so when Channel Ten asked me to join their team at this years race I couldn't say yes quick enough.
      It will be great to be back with all my mates in Formula One, to be a part of Ten's coverage and to be there in the magic of Melbourne when the 2006 Australian Grand Prix is Go! Go! Go!

    • Murray: I stopped commentating in 2001 because, after 53 years of talking about the sport I love, I thought it was time I did, but I've missed the buzz enormously.

    • Murray: Unless I'm very much mistaken....I AM very much mistaken!

    • Murray: and I interrupt myself to bring you this....

    • Murray: ...and there's no damage to the car.....except to the car itself.

    • Murray: ANNDD! We have a, uh, I - (laughing) - I, uh, I'm S- (still laughing). I have to eat humble pie again, for all the people out there. Uh, we have a lap scorrring problem and, uh, I have to rather lamely tell you that, uh, it's still Gerhard Berger in 2nd place. It's Berger in 3rd position. In four- in- in-. Um, Boutsen in 3rd position...

    • James: And now what's wrong with Prost's car?
      Murray: It's not Prost's car it's that joker in the striped shirt!

    • From the Spanish GP 1995:
      Murray: And Eddie Jordan is in fifth place.
      (actually Eddie Irvine was in 5th place in one of team owner, Eddie Jordan's, cars).

    • Murray: Into lap 53, the penultimate last lap but one.

    • Murray: And he has been lapped 9th, 10th, 11th...
      *** This was in reference to Jacques Villeneuve, who was leading at the time, and there were only 11 cars running anyway!

    • Murray: Schumacher has made his final stop three times!

    • Murray: (hysterical as ever) And that's Alboreto OFF! [long pause - somber voice] Now Michele Alboreto did not in fact qualify for the race, so how we managed to see him go off I don't know. We'll let you know. [Even longer pause, now laughing. Now I'm not a technician, but it appears a shot of Michele Alboreto going off in qualifying has crept into this live transmission, thank you Mr. Producer, anyway that was qualifying, this is the race...

    • Murray: I know it's an old cliche, but you can cut the atmosphere with a cricket stump.

    • Murray: And that just shows you how important the car is in Formula One racing.

    • Murray: And Damon Hill is going under the drier part of the Monaco circuit, that's of course because it's got a roof.

    • Murray It has all come alive in Hungary. There is the proof! Williams! Benetton! Ferrari! The Benetton is Berger and the Ferrari is Damon Hill!
      *** In fact Hill raced for Benetton and Berger raced for Ferrari!

    • Murray: There goes Panis in the Prost. For years we knew them as Ligiers, because that is what they were called.

    • Murray: There's a car coming into the pits now, they're so unreliable with all those electronics on board.

      James: Actually, Murray, one of his wheels has just fallen off!

    • Murray: Mansell is slowing it down, taking it easy. Oh no he isn't! It's a lap record.

    • Murray: Well let's, uh, lugsh, luxurrriate in a little hypothesis and try to work out what, if anything, is wrong with Alain Prost. (Prost was being caught by Berger late in the race.) "Has he got tire problems? Very unlikely. Is Prost having fuel trouble? Well, who knows? I think it's a bit unlikely. Is Prost having gearbox trouble? I can't tell you. And since P, uh, Prost is unlikely to come on the radio and let me know you'll have to guess along with me.

    • Murray: Ah! Now here's Senna in the pits (for the black flag). No point in saying I wish I could lip read: I can't even see his lips! There's Ron Dennis bending over at the right. This is A-! Out gets Senna! For whatever reason and I just hope we can get a message about this. I hope we can get a message. Ayrton Senna with, with rage and impotent fury etched in every line of his body, reluctantly drags himself out of the McLaren.
      - (In reality Senna calmly stepped out of the car and walked away.)

    • Murray: And look at the flames coming from the back of Berger's McLaren.
      James: Actually, Murray, they're not flames, it's the safety light.

    • Murray: Cruel luck for Alesi, second on the grid. That's the first time he had started from the front row in a Grand Prix, having done so in Canada earlier this year...

    • Murray: There's a fiery glow coming from the back of the Ferrari.
      James Allen: No Murray, that's his rear safety light.

    • Murray: What's that? There's a BODY on the track!!!
      James Allen: Um, I think that that is a piece of BODY-WORK, from someone's car.

    • Murray: So Bernie [Ecclestone], in the seventeen years since you bought McLaren, which of your many achievements do you think was the most memorable?
      Bernie: Well I don't remember buying McLaren.
      *** Bernie Ecclestone used to own the Brabham team.

    • Murray: (during a GP, describing how the leader can see the driver following him) ...Mansell can see him in his earphone...

    • Murray: and this is the third placed car about to lap the second placed car.

    • Murray: And there's just a few more corners for Nigel Mansell to go to win the Canadian Grand Prix...and...he's going rather slow....HE'S STOPPING HE'S STOPPING!

    • Murray: I can't imagine what kind of problem Senna has. I imagine it must be some sort of grip problem.

    • Murray: As you look at the first four, the significant thing is that Alboreto is 5th.

    • Murray: Anything happens in Grand Prix racing and it usually does.

    • Murray: Do my eyes deceive me, or is Senna's Lotus sounding rough?

    • Murray: With half the race gone, there is half the race still to go.

    • Murray: He's obviously gone in for a wheel change. I say obviously because I can't see it.

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