Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Walker back to happiness // A roundup and reviews of Murray's F1 comeback

Published by Mr. C

The return of Murray was such a joyous occasion for us at Sidepodcast, I figured it deserves a proper wrap up.

During the last show we took issue with the BBC for continuously jumping from Formula 1 to the golf and then the cricket. It frustrated me no end, I'm not a fan of those 'other' sports and I wanted to hear this historic moment in it's entirety. Remember when Elvis made his '68 Comeback Special? Could you imagine the same concert with 15 minute breaks at various intervals because some TV station had scheduled news bulletins? There's a time and a place for some things and Sunday afternoon should have been Murray's time. The man in my eyes is a legend and if your religion is Formula 1 then what the Beeb did during the course of the weekend was nothing short of blasphemy.

At the time I had a vague suspicion that the producers were having a Sinatra moment - when Frank did a speech at the '94 Grammy Awards, producers cut him mid-sentence to roll commercials. There was an outcry at the time but Frank's minders actually made the call. Fearing the aging gent would damage his reputation by losing the plot and ramble on incoherently. If that was the case and the breaks were there to give Muzza time to compose himself then I might be able to forgive them, but I got the impression from the tones in his voice that he was as frustrated with the interruptions as I was.

To continue the music analogy a little further, you'd never halt a singer mid-crescendo, because you'll likely find yourself with a microphone stand moonlighting as a permanent third leg. By the same token, don't mess with Muzza when he's just getting into the swing of things. Heads should roll.

Anyhow, that off my chest, how did he fare?

In fact the man sounded like he'd never been away. The decision to play The Chain as an introductory piece was an inspired choice, and when Walker referred to it as "my tune", he was right in every respect. I challenge anyone to listen to the whole of that Fleetwood Mac track and not think of Murray Walker.

There were the expected gaffs, the mistaken identities and downright daft phrases. But I didn't care one bit, because what he lost in translation he made up for with experience, wit and untamed enthusiasm for the sport he so clearly loves. If I make it to the ripe old age of 83, I'll be happy if I can still walk unaided, let alone jump up and down the way Murray must've been doing the whole of Sunday's race. Pure class is the only way I can describe it.

Many words have been written over the last few days and in many cases they sum up Mr. Walker better then I ever could, so I'll leave you with the following quotes. The first, on meeting Murray, and the others describing his race commentary.

And you know what? I now understand why I admired him so much. We were talking about the spy affair between McLaren and Ferrari, and he gave a very straightforward answer that I had heard nowhere else before, talking about how employees owed loyalty to companies that had made them rich and successful. It was straightforward, honest and human.

- RF1 Paddock Pass

Walker was magnificent; loud, confident and slightly batty.

- Alyson Rudd

It was Walker doing what he has done best since his debut at the British GP in 1949, and doing it in a typically knowledgeable, authoritative and amusing way. It was as if he had never been away.

- Martin Smith

When something interesting is happening on the circuit, Murray Walker is the first to get excited, and soon enough everyone knows about it.

- doctorvee

Bootnote. David Croft had his baby and he called it Daniel. We at Sidepodcast would like to wish the family well, whilst secretly hoping they're planning to have another one this time next year! The BBC owe a certain gentleman a bit more respect and a lot more airtime.