Kirsty Young talks to motor racing commentator Murray Walker, in a programme first broadcast in 2014. Murray Walker died in March 2021, at the age of 97.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music, radio broadcasts, lowering of indian we're taking our east. break so until about corner where showcasing a few programmes from our archive as usual them It's been shortened for rights reasons. This week's guest is the broadcaster maria He was cast away by kirsty young in twenty fourteen my asked away this week, is the broadcaster mary walker he's commentary and career began in nineteen forty eight and he finally hung up the lit mike at the end of two thousand and one his trousers on fire style of delivery, brought excitement, emotion and fanatical obsession to formula one for motorways.
In fact he was most sport. A petrol head before that had even been coined. It was his father, one of the top motorbike racing champs of his day, who ignited his sons, lifelong love of big, noisy engines. He's talked british funds, through so many of the sports greatest victories Damon hill crossing finish line to win the world title brought an audible lump to his throat, but also inevitably great tragedies to his life commentary and urban centres. Fatal crash in ninety four must surely have been his most profession. they demanding he says. I have always believed that formula. One with its highs and lows is the ultimate distillation of life. So many walker, if he would begin than by expanding on that in what we do, you think does does formula one report and everything we have to do with the real world
about in formula one kirsty. It doesn't matter whether the tricky who is bringing their ties to the circuit, albany, echo sloan himself or one of the top drawer a slight surpassed in vessel and lowest hamilton jensen button that all Best went what they do It's an enormously satisfying and stimulating environment, a ban because you straw rivals in some cases bitter arrivals on saturday and sunday, but all as the time your made sure travelling together you each of the same restaurants together and, of course, let's make no bones about it it is something were. Sadly you can lose your life, although thank heavens, sir, that's something that, as usual, allow it used to be usually Jackie fields day. I'm a regatta pudding things in a nutshell, but that's my dear wife.
formula one as the ultimate distillation of life. I don't want any disrespect the people who could do a good job common tasting today, but you know for a lot of people. You still are the voice defines the roaring engines, the drama, the tension, the spray of the champagne? What does it take to be a successful commentator first of all to know what you're talking about my lover, people didn't think. I knew what I was talking about, but actually like any professional bro. Costa. You do an enormous amount of research. When I wasn't there, meetings. I was reading magazines, meeting people going around doing interviews and, you also need to be able to talk about it, I described you're commentary style therein. Introduction is pants on fire. I was a little bit way that you would take offence at that. I hope you didn't, because it was meant as a compliment. I would you describe, your style, I have my pencil
it was the immortal. Clive J was a coin that that vote distinctive tune of an f one engine when its full throttle was somehow matched by the tone of your voice. Accommodating was that deliberate law which are genes thing must pay, because I haven't done anything to develop my voice. I have a very harsh aggressive voice, We are dealing with a very harsh, aggressive sport. I'm actually talking to you my conversational voice now, but when I got excited another standing up nice to stand out. Roma commonplace allows bouncing about on the balls on my feet, my voice, get a lot louder and much more aggressive and our talk a lot faster because I was trot a community it as much as I possibly could in the minimum amount of time. Excitedly because I thought of my job was not just to communicate, but hopefully joint taken as well. Oh I enjoyed that money. Walker! Thank you for that. Little love, blasting opacity, it's time for you
best disk of the morning. Tell me what we can again why you ve chosen. This is pretty obvious. I girl surprise. Surprise. I spent most of broadcasting as working with a baby. She, but the thing that really got me in front of the public in terms of television was form into one, and it was somebody's inspired idea to use a particular piece of music to the Jews to show it was fleetwood max the chain. That was pretty much.
the chain. Do you so the little flutter when you hear that curse they're? Just then how I got goosebumps always do, because I knew that when that stopped, I started Let's take a little wandered down memory lane its nineteen ninety three wooden birmingham and you were born to grow elsie walker, the family moved too. filled in middlesex when you were just five. What's your earliest memory of life at home, I remember it was my birthday because they are not wanted a toy submarine that you operated in above with a bladder thing. new squeeze, let alone the summary Belinda, This wasn't good enough. As far as my father was concerned, to give his beloved My father said happy birthday. Some then yang. An enormous plywood box with a bow. make a steam launch in it, and I burst into tears what you want it wasn't, but I wanted no, I mean bless him. He'd give me
but I thought was gonna- send me over the moon. You were an only child, we, u very cherished and slightly sort of indulged, probably like most only children had true wonderful parents my father was tremendously hard. Working enormously cheerful, gigantically capable physical brave man, who earn living racing motorcycles. My papa would disappear. Before the weekend and come back with a big trophy, after wondered, kirsty how my life would have gone if my father being a plumber from a very young age than what was your father. You here I mean a phone Who goes off to do something rather dangerous and exotic. Over the weekend now comes back with a big trophy like glamorous above board love to social, but I think it was all pretty homeless rose. I was concerned, but my father for me, a prey
world war. Two two hundred and fifty shape our boy with all the technicalities. Aerial cult, motorcycle. We lived in a private road and they wanted me to be able to control someday mechanically responsibly, and I got mine. if a latin took it to pieces and put it together again badly and I was had not left over wonder where it came from and I did it didn't, throw you beyond the monoplane. Yes, I did because a motorcycle after all, is a modern, the horse. You are in charge of it, balancing it probably too in the right line, corners riding quickly within the limits of the law, as you should give you marge like very few other things can and so may the moment I got more than it still does and if I was still capable physically arriving one I would have on have you ever had a gawayne formula, one car have indeed in nineteen eighty eight, I drove a formula one mclaren for ten lapse at silverstone anymore,
to do three lapse, but I knew that advice data they would be able to get me until I came in. We can has one is it when money, walker, you're? Second choice: his ward, so skaters wolf, I'm not good as a dancer like I've got to let fleet. But I love Monitoring is greatest
that was part of this whose won't by animal vile toffler played by the london pops orchestra so much Ok, it's not just beautiful fast things. You ve, given you drive a sherman tank when, when you were an officer in the royal scots graze unesco
eighteen, evil in tears and turned up in nineteen forty one or do you remember? I was very. lucky to be with the role scots graciously were then and it's the role, scots dragoon guards now I join the regiment. My squadron leader Greeted me any said master. View with us george centre the talking they also damage. The g stands for graham actually serve at my feet. Call me Mary. I said I thought it was Maria hyphen walker and he felt tat. He was quite disappointed that it wasn't ready. I find work, but he said- you will be responsible to sergeant my tevish, allowing fresh Santos kirsty. I got this go people my shoulder not so much. I think this is confetti. and he said I know what you're thinking you god's gift of british I'll, make you a fresh out of santa. She said you know nothing.
I should like to wish, has been with us since palestine, as it then was right north africa equally day day. An eye benefited from that man's experience on its probably because, although that I'm alive to we do now, I've read- and I dont quite understand this- that you father one point joins you on the battlefield. Is that true measures journeys caught incredible experience. This was just before the rhine crossing right, in a chain regiment and we will having so pretty each time literally clearing they approach it and every shelf too used to have to come back to replenish petrol, fuel and ammunition we drive along tools, replenishment Deborah soul for people standing idly thought to myself caution versus lima, father graduate? closer. I saw this man in military uniform and my father was not in the army.
Was my father. Stopped jumped to listen, Remember what I said was published on them. I will tell you doing because we were half an hour away from extreme shot and shell at a couple story short as a magazine. Eighty as he was, then he had used his contacts. First of all, to get credit it s. A special correspondent Secondly- and I don't know to this day how it is to find out where my regiment wasn't level where I was and he got up, there I was pretty worried was laughing. I wanted to say was my father, where he was under way took home what we wanted to take on in the way of fuel and ammunition and trembled off again, and they would you say, not soon as to exactly how he managed to do. You know why he did it. because he wanted to say little boy, pigs and ass. Was very fond of you
I found a man, hopefully wanted a shoemaker, let's take a little time to hear some music and money walker. We're going to hear you are on your side desk, which is very much connected to do what we ve just been talking about. Tell me about this. I said was very lucky to be in the scotch grace with its own pipes and drums band, which has had a number one dish with amazing grace which most
people are listening will probably here. Well, they want here were nearly much emotions. Are the rules
It's too big guards. You regiment, mediocre, playing amazing grace there. I want to talk in a little while about these two careers that you had, but before we do that. I want to ask about this. I think quite short period I point when you took up racing motorcycles as well. How long did at last and where you any good not very long kirsty and I suspect I did it because I felt I ought to do it but come out of the war. I wanted to get and you doing something exciting surrounded by will the bric a brac of my father's, let iphone memorabilia and stuff, and he make it into motorcycle racing it, but I was reason a good club standard, but not good enough, I went on to sixty endure rose and one day trials allows much better that problem when a gold medal and the international six days trial in nineteen fourteen on but kirsty
I was starting to make progress in my chosen profession, which was advertising. and I was gonna have to spend money on developing mine, not very successful motor cycle racing life or make money hopefully developing my more success will advertising love and I pragmatic, chose the letter and when was the very first that is set in front of alive mike and spoken heard your voice reaching people surely would fill climb in nineteen. Forty eight when father had been going to do the BBC commentary and for some reason I can't remember, couldn't and they put them public address commentator in his job. Unless to my father, you got us into this whole, get us out of it. Nor can we put on the public address and he showed water he gave the boy ago and the boy like two immediate and liked to the major issues. If you're talking public address kirsty you're talking to people actually, then they can see
What you're talking about, but talking to one person as far as I was concerned, and that was a check oh Jim pestered, who is the baby she producer and he couldn't help, but may because all of public address- our speakers blouse, take me out. and I gave em chapter and nonstop for the whole region about Joe blog from where it came from and how many children had gotten bodied done. You say you talking to him. So you are aware that this was a sort of live addition, if you hoped it was of, is so it very well you this. What turned out to be? I got an audition goodwood motor racing car, not bikes, you're, very scroll pre. Then I think that what was that it silverstone submerging fourteen. What's your memory of that, while the suit First of all, silverstone isn't a high developed ex world war to burma base The original psychic use the runways in the middle as well as the perimeter road. So you cars charging towards each other,
an accumulated spate of about three hundred miles an hour, and then they paled often went in opposite directions. A member that pretty vividly. But most of all, I remember I was at school corner, and there was an outstanding check. Call john bolster it a talking. They didn't wear protecting clothing in those days. Unequal download hang a straight line control and went barreling end over and was thrown out of the car. No safety belts at my feet in the common troubles. and I looked down. I saw this bleeding mash of humanity and then I thought I say that in terms of more to say about this and I said, With devastating akershem boss does go off they suddenly adam and perfect, I was perfectly all right. He ricky recovered from it, but that's my most vivid member from that might have put some people off. porridge, I mean they might have thought. You know this isn't for me,
I don't want to be as close to potential data. We can go, get kirsty that I heard bivalve gone, not my fault. I would have been twenty five years old. I don't wish labour on this. But I have had the misfortune to say a lot of people killed in the spring which I love so saying. John bolster. I thought always meant nothing particularly new to man, I'm, but I want to appear hard. not at all colors, but you carry on less kane Is it tell me what we can you know this is your first choice of the morning. Money walker besotted with australia and while I am on my desert island, I would like to remind myself about this much larger ireland, and what better to do it?
but to be able to hear washing her daughter. Votes
mathilda son by mary sue lawyers who accompanied by the Andre real orchestra you enjoyed that rosing bit of it. We got through better their mighty walker. You have wrongly been credited with the advertising strapped line a miser day, helps you weren't, crest and play you didn't come up with that, but you did come up with. I think opel fruits made to make my water who's gonna. I and true ex budgies bounce with your nose accosting there. I didn't know that when I don't know about a lonely budget, your license Four, then did you eat. You ran it in parallel with your career has accommodated for many many years. Did you enjoy advertising of that just there to pay the bills I loved it, I didn't daughter, because I was doing eight. If things and it's a bit like form in awhile, I said the formula one is the best of what they do and if you in advertising agency business you day, working with a lot of very young, very bright, very aggressive people,
full of ideas, and I was very lucky that I had some wonderful clans. I've seen it I don't know what to make of it you and on another bunch of jensen, smart suits. You look like you ve, yet you let your anything out of dogs question one of my. sally class was a company called pet food was my job, our job, to convert the british housewife from feeding her dog households Apps on which it was say, may lay perfectly happy and fit and to persuade to go to a shop. By can harriet home opening up, give it to the door. not knowing what was in it and fraid, who got to stop the staff to sell elsewhere have suspected that the cap was full of factual force weepings. Well, it wasn't. I truly it's actually very high. Policy stuff and in order to convince the trade of how good it was in an extremist, we would How can a sum in front of him? I was it
a thing wrong when they had done that before about driving us about what you described yourself, the time as a sort of middle england w seven, you know your leading this life where you are you enjoyed, the advertising he was creative. And then you also had this this life running. In parallel, where you were commenting on formula one in motion, sport generally did the people in the advert. You need to know what you did on the weekend. He s they couldn't help, but now I had great isn't elevation and I'm gonna pay tribute to my wife of course, if I'm gonna, tolerant, understanding, wife, they were not being able to lead a life. I have led for so long because working normal, stop from one, forty eight until two thousand and one we we didn't have, conventional holiday for twenty years, really because I was on holiday all the time. As far as I was concerned, let's have some music money. This is your fifth. We ve taught
what about my father and my association with him as a common teaching, partnership we, barely father in the sun coming the bbc, has ever had. As far as I know, and we worked other from nineteen, forty nine until nineteen sixty two when he died I attempted to step to a very large choose. One of the things that we did together was to produce what what called sound stories of the tv races I would run. the story of the race, my father, would then recorded put it all disc and it would be illustrated with the actual sound about which my father was taught me. More distance, arguing and higher were tall through the twists and turns it with twenty three master ramsay. With only seconds between them. There parliament square weighted down millions of BBC listeners about the four lap was Mary walker thing.
Schools. Cholera down towards may is gary hopping, listen behind it, but not very far, and one minute it- was you money, walk and before that, your father? Graham, you are both commenting on the nineteen sixty one eyed man tt race, in sign stories, those outcomes that used to make it was fifth, two years then, all in that you commentator on on formula ones on grown priests and we all love so much listening to you in and among the I think that are most memorable for so many people are the races that you covered with james hunt. It was very much a celebrated partnership. You shared one microphone. I understand. Why was that while Jonathan Who was the year of sport? the baby say at the time
knew that it was very difficult to get the microphone away from me. but he also knew that if he gave us both microphones, we would be talking over each other, so to ensure that only one person at a time was talking. We had one your phone. Involved play extreme physical, sacrifice as far as I was concerned, of giving out them with recital gauging and we were well. A motorway were different, temperamental aging. Imagine any two people to be Is this busy chap who was walking around the paddock earnestly talking to everybody in rushing it down james, would be sitting in lay mclaren motor home entertaining his friends and then what one occasion and that silverstone
when I was standing up. James was sitting down and I was giving it plenty and james soul in all born had been talking long enough and they gave microphone were terrific tag in that market I flew out of my hands into his actually had my fish back to give him a no one, because I was absolutely incandescent with rage and I'll. Across my wilkins. The producer was wagging his finger out, may say now, Mary, don't I didn't from the what turned out to be a good friendship was retained. Is life of course, famously very recently has been maidens were rather thrilling, illegally saying that you have seen or heard about James pails into insignificance compared with the real thing go on early may rights. Give me a little where this is a family shock, us them regularly. Snubbings parts said that a more
in daring, charming delightful You will would never have hoped to meet and also a ball rude trucks. Overbearing chap you never hope to me right It is time for some moments. It then tell me what we're getting your next year on year, six of the morning. What's this, much ass fan, Chris Bob. Judge burn needs, no introduction from me used to raise himself with some distinction and I gave me one of them standing members of my life, and that was the memorial service to the late great, can turtle who owned and ran like terrorizing team, and it was a guilford cathedral and finish with a crash barber band march, down the knave playing when the change come marching in.
I hear that, but I do want to hear them playing the sovereign power street parade
that was the Chris barber band emphasise rampart street parade. I should tell you marry walker, the David cool taught ones, pity very nice compliment. He said the unique gift was europe. Letty. To bring sincere emotion to the viewer, I mean in the introduction demon he'll becoming world champion. I was That was a moment when you're sincere emotion got the better of you tell us what happened. Firstly, I had known diamond for most of his life. His father gram was a double world champion, but damon head of a very tough up bringing his father was killed when he was the most impressionable term of his life nineteen ninety six. We had a very tough season racing against his teammate track. Real love
and when damon cross the line to become world champion by winning the race all paint. Emotions came to the top, and I said I stop now. It was like a lump in my on paper have accused me of rotting things on the country box wall and trying to find the appropriate point in the commission. the slot them in, but additional either if you're doing the job properly or talking from the heart, and my goodness I was suddenly talking from the heart, then a couple of years before that you had one of the toughest moments. If a few in terms of what was happening on air was nineteen ninety four, and The legendary athens centre was to meet his end and, of course, you started that race with as much optimism and suddenly you find yourself in a place where you were watching something live on here. That was clearly very, very serious. Indeed, it was killed. Corner called a ten bureau. The Emmeline circuit for the san marino girl, pray, and I
seen three other drivers indifferent years crash in identical circumstances The operator was perfectly all right: nelson piquet, slightly hurt his foot gerhard burger was not only unconscious in the car. Buddy was on fire I got him out any was okay, so when senna crashed kirsty. My major reaction was well, that's a big one, but then major, they realise that far worse than that body language and stop the ricin lol, the dilemma that you faces you as a co legislator vanish not any more about what was happening to centre than anybody else? It was there did, but I having trouble the tightrope between. Don't worry folk, I've seen three other drivers than they were perfectly all right
this is terrible affair, its terminal, what you say, and it was not easy. We ve heard you talk this morning about the fact that you ve took part yourself. On the front line in the second world war. In all that you have seen professionally have you had cause to pause? wonder sometimes about drivers that put themselves through their own choice. Put themselves in such picture and so close to death They are entirely right. We should all be masters of our own destiny, to the extent that we can be very much against the health and safety brigade who try to stop people doing dangerous things, provide did you don't take other innocent people with you, which would be? inexcusable I see no reason why people shouldn't do it. People fall mountains every year and kill themselves, but they to live on television that difference. Let's have a disk, then many walker they? What we're gonna need. This is your seventh
I love military marches and one of the best of them all the stars and stripes wherever that was part of the same
and stripes river played by the united states marine ban directed by colonel Michael J colbrand, not money what Of course we know you brought your great skill as a broadcaster, you brought your in depth knowledge to formula one and motor sport in general, but you also brought now and again a few quarters that people would really enjoy and celebrate. I'm gone to ask you if the following two or three years, because some of them, I think, might have been made up. Nigel mental, slowing down taking an easy, oh and it's a new lap record, the illicit that's true, Williams com is absolutely unique, except for the one behind which is at stake. Are they really will occur, except it's all about that You haven't got time to think about. Shall I say this way or shall I say thy way. You say comes into the time and some the rome words come out. Sometimes, words come out of the wrong order. Do he walks formula one on the telling our dean every second of it, and I thought
ten times as many seconds. I would be watching them to me as I might do you worry about the current cases against them formula, one. I'm thinking of cases that have just happened in the uk, there's gonna be a future case in germany involving a cardiac yeah. I don't want to talk about him. Specifically, but I'm wondering what you think about all this stuff can't be helping the image of formula one no I suppose so reluctantly have to admit that it com, but I hope this is a passing phase on its global sport now, which gets television views which are, it only by thing, the world cup and the olympic games. So it speaks for itself and I like to think you're. Just gonna lie were eventually in all you Of course, you will not just have watched the brilliance of Michael schumacher on the track, but I presume you know him a little way off. The track. Must cause you, as well as the whole formula. One communists have the greatest depths of misery to see us tragedy. Asia
iceman micro schumacher unto spend what over twenty years of his life constantly exposing himself to extreme potential death dealing situations only to end up where it is not a result of a recreational action that is tragic, absolute extreme one can only hope that he's gonna get better. What are you for the coming season. Who shall we be looking out for an edge gonna, be one of the most interesting and exciting ever I wash out about every season, but this one really is way new rules which have resulted in an extremely complicated motorcars on there's going to be a lot of cars breaking down before they get them right. I just only wish could become a changing and, what's gonna be out, make us it's gonna, be fabulous, tenable, the final disk, then marry walker. What are we gonna hear to play his eyes?
absolutely doggedly glenn miller orchestra, one of the greatest records I've ever produced was american patrol.
Glenn orchestra and american put him soon. When you ok, it's time for me to give you the books, you get the bible and the complete works if shakespeare and you get to take another launch the island. What's he was gonna, be how to survive anything anywhere, but not a practical joke, we wanted to get away as quickly as we possibly can and do anything. I can do to state that there will be essential right will give you a survival handed than and a luxury to a monoculture, kirsty? I need my sleep. I would like a hammock
if I have a pillow to go with it, not would bear generous gift. Certainly, I will give thinkers and of the eight tracks, if you had to say just one which one would you save or increase Barbara shelf ramparts reaper I'd get me going right, that's he was walker. Thank you very much for letting us here, you're desert island discs. Thank you.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-05.