Murray Walker

Murray Walker : Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken

3.82 (273 ratings by Goodreads)
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Murray Walker is acknowledged worldwide as the voice of motor racing - and the man responsible for introducing millions of viewers to the previously inaccessible world of Formula 1. Here he tells the story of his incident-packed life. Murray Walker is seen as an institution in the sport. 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 enhanced his reputation. 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 his book he 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 gave Walker his big opening, 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. Walker 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, and he also gives his views on drivers such as Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Eddie Irvine and David more

Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 44mm | 798.32g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperCollinsWillow
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 10 b/w, 90 col plates (32pp), Index
  • 0007126964
  • 9780007126965

Review quote

'The sheer force and sincerity of his enthusiasm has long made him the most imitated as well as the most loved broadcaster in British life' Daily Telegraphshow more

Author information

Murray Walker was born into the world of motor racing. His father Graham was a motorcycle TT champion and Walker jnr saw his first race when he was two. After active service in World War II, he forged a succeesful career as an advertising executive, handling the accounts of blue-chip firms such as Mars, Esso and the Co-op. His debut as a sports commentator came in 1949, when he covered the British GP at Silverstone for BBC Radio. He has since spent more than 50 years commentating on motor racing and in particular F1, initially for the BBC before moving over to ITV in 1997. He is the author of 14 books on motor more

Review Text

To most people in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth and beyond, Murray Walker is the voice of motor sport. There can be little surprise about that - he made his first radio and television broadcasts in 1949 and only retired from commentating in 2001 at the age of 78. In the intervening half-century Walker commentated on hundreds of engine-powered races involving everything from trucks to boats via motorcycles, his first love. He became best known, however, for his work in Formula One, delighting or irritating millions around the world with his full-throttle delivery. Walker could inject excitement into what might appear to the casual observer as the dullest of processions through the force of his personality. Given that Walker has always appeared to have excess energy to burn, it is little wonder that, until 1982, broadcasting was not even his full-time profession. He enjoyed a successful career in advertising, treating commentary work almost as a weekend hobby. Walker feels blessed to have been able to enjoy such a full life and shares some of the many highlights with typical gusto. He covers his childhood, his distinguished service in tanks during the Second World War, and his 'proper' job in advertising, but most people will come to this book for the roar of the engines and Walker does not sell them short. Page after page is devoted to discussion and reminiscences about all manner of motor sport and those who take part. Walker writes with great affection about the riders and drivers he has known and the thrilling races that have fuelled his passion: Fangio, Moss, Mansell, Surtees, Senna, Schumacher, the mere mention of these and other great names will delight enthusiasts. Walker rarely has a bad word to say about anybody - this is a celebration of a long and fulfilled life, not a tabloid-courting rant - but readers will sense some residual tension from his working relationship with the late James Hunt, the F1 champion who shared the commentary box with Walker for over a decade. Walker emerges as a decent, passionate, extremely hardworking man who is in no mood to slow down just yet. The book zips along with the same pace as one of Walker's commentaries and readers may find themselves stopping every few pages in order that both they and the author might catch their breath. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

273 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 24% (66)
4 44% (119)
3 25% (69)
2 5% (13)
1 2% (6)
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