Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken

Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken

For those people who don’t know who Murray Walker is he used to be the voice of Formula 1 motor racing on both the BBC and ITV channels for more than twenty years. He also commentated on motocross, TT races on the Isle of Man, powerboat racing, weight lifting and snooker. Okay so the snooker was for a section on Jeremy Clarkson’s television show but he was the voice of motor sport. He injected every commentary with an incredible amount of enthusiasm.

Murray tells of meeting his father on the German border during World War II. Murray was driving a tank and his father, smoking a pipe, was editor and war correspondent for Motor Cycling magazine. His father had decided to meet up with his son in Europe.

For, more or less, all of his career in advertising he was also commentating at motor sport events up and down the country at weekends. I finally found out if Murray actually coined the phrase - “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play” - he didn’t, no thanks to Andrew Napier for telling me otherwise. Murray also had to try to increase the market for Trill, that’s budgerigar seed, who already had 90% market share. But the pet foods marketing director wanted more, obviously. So Murray and the marketing team had a meeting and they decided to make budgie owners think that a single bird in a cage is a sad and lonely little pet. That really all a budgie wants is another budgie to keep him or her company. Genius! Get everyone to buy another bird and double your turnover and therefore profits.

What Murray Walker was really famous for was his ‘Murrayisms’. Let me explain. When Murray was commentating he would be watching the television feed monitor, keeping track of who was where on the circuit, reading his copious notes, listening to the producer in his headphones as well as letting his co-commentator occasionally get a word in edgeways. This would lead to brain overload in the best of us and of course it occasionally happened to Murray. Because his words were being beamed around the world and recorded for posterity on videotape there was no way of correcting what had been said in the heat of the moment. Here are a few of my favourites. All are copyright Murray Walker.

There’s nothing wrong with the car except it’s on fire.

Either that car is stationary or it’s on the move.

I’ve just stopped my startwatch.

Prost can see Mansell in his earphones.

The book really is a great read. It’s funny and informative and the personality of the great man really shines through.

  • Reviewed on Monday, 08 August 2005
  • Tagged with book review