For many year the voice of F1 in the UK for many years, Murray Walker was famous for his 'Murrayisms' such as 'With half the race gone, there's half the race still to go' and 'Now Laffite is as close to Surer as Surer is to Laffite'.
Graeme Murray Walker, OBE was born in Hall Green, Birmingham, England and is a Formula 1 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 for F1 coverage to the company ITV, Walker continued his commentating there.
He is famous in the United Kingdom for his very distinctive enthusiastic commentary style. He regularly made comments (known to many as Walkerisms or Murrayisms) in the heat of the moment that, upon analysis a moment later, were ridiculous; for example, as a car arrived for a pit stop during a race he once said "...I'll stop the startwatch!". He was also an exponent of the commentator's curse, describing how well a driver was racing or that they would win the race, only to have them retire or crash out of the race shortly thereafter.
He commentated on Formula 1 from its early days in the 1950s through to the 2001 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Since his retirement many have missed his distinctive voice, which seemed to rise and fall in tone along with the revving of the car engines.
Walker spent most of his working life in advertising, only commentating full-time after he had passed retirement age. Despite what many people believe, he did not coin the iconic slogan "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play" although he did create other slogans well-known in the UK, such as "Trill keeps budgies bouncing with health" and (for Opal Fruits) "made to make your mouth water". Perhaps more generally known was his Pizza Hut television advertisement with British racing driver Damon Hill, where, having finished eating his pizza before Damon, he announced "Damon Hill finishes second... again!".
On his retirement Walker was awarded an original brick from "The Brickyard" (the Indianapolis Motor Speedway) by track president Tony George.
In July 2005 Murray Walker was awarded with Honorary Doctor of the University Degree from the Middlesex University, London
In October 2005, it was announced that Walker would be returning to the microphone as the BBC's voice of the new Grand Prix Masters series. After providing the commentary for the inaugural race in South Africa, in January 2006 BBC Radio Five Live announced that Walker would be part of their team for their coverage of subsequent races.
In March 2006, the Honda Racing F1 Team, formerly British American Racing, announced that Walker would become its team ambassador for half of the 2006 season's 18 Grands Prix starting with the San Marino Grand Prix in April. Walker will welcome Honda Racing's VIP guests and entertain them with his unique brand of F1 commentary.
In April 2006, Walker returned to the microphone to commentate the Australian Grand Prix for Australia's Formula One broadcaster Network Ten. He is also Sky Sports' commentator on their coverage of Grand Prix Masters.
A few more Murrayisms:
- And just to clarify, Häkkinen leads and has yet to stop, Coulthard leads and has yet to stop.
- Now we go into lap 53, the penultimate last lap but one.
- Excuse me while I interrupt myself...
- And at last he passes... No! He's off! I thought he was going to pass but he's overshot
- With half the race gone, there's half the race still to go.
- If the gloves weren't off before—and they were—they sure are now!
- That's a good stop. Just under 10 seconds. Call it 9.7 in round figures.
- 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.
- Now Laffite is as close to Surer as Surer is to Laffite.
- There's a difference of only one second between these two cars ...one... that's how long a second is
- I should imagine that the conditions in those cars are totally unimaginable.
- 'If' is a very long word in Formula One; in fact, 'if' is F1 spelled backwards.
- Describing his commentary style: "I don't make mistakes. I make prophecies which immediately turn out to be wrong.
- The interesting thing about this circuit is that it has inclines; not just up, but down as well.
- This has been a mediocre season for Nelson Piquet, as he is now known, and always has been.
- And the track temperature has in fact risen in degrees!
- And here comes Damon Hill in the Williams. This car is absolutely unique—except for the one following it, which is identical
- Do my eyes deceive me or is Senna's Lotus sounding a bit rough?
- Tambay's hopes, which were nil before, are now absolutely zero.
- You can't see a digital clock, because there isn't one.
- There are flames coming from the back of Prost's car as he goes into the Swimming Pool!" (The "Swimming Pool" is a chicane section on the Monaco F1 circuit.) Co-commentator James Hunt replied: "That should put them out then!
- Alboreto into the pits and I'm going to stop the startwatch!
- And now the boot is on the other Schumacher.
- On how hot tyres become during a race: "I don't know what that is in degrees, but it's damned hot.
- ...and for great driving, watch this!" A moment later the car Walker is watching fails to turn into a corner, crashes into a tyre barrier and is out of the race.
- Unless I'm very much mistaken... I am very much mistaken!
- And it's a sad ending, albeit a happy one, at Montreal for today's Grand Prix
- It's the first time Schumacher's won here since 1959" (Michael Schumacher was born in 1969)
- Schumacher in the McLaren, Häkkinen in the Ferrari." (At the time, Schumacher was a Ferrari driver and Häkkinen was a McLaren driver)
- There is a dry line appearing in the tunnel
- (Approaching Bernie Ecclestone) "Bernie, it's some 17 years since you bought McLaren, you've had some good times and you've had some bad times, what do you remember best?" Bernie replies: "I don't remember buying McLaren..." Murray: "I've done it again, haven't I
- On Gerhard Berger's Ferrari failing at Suzuka 93 "That's Ayrton Berger!
- Mansell knows exactly where Senna is because he can see him in his earphone.