Graeme Murray Walker, OBE (born 10 October 1923), known as Murray Walker, is a semi-retired Formula One motorsport commentator and journalist. For most of his career he worked for the BBC, but when it lost the contract for Formula One coverage to ITV, Walker continued his commentating after the change of broadcaster.
He is known for his distinctive, enthusiastic commentary style and gentlemanly and considerate conduct, seeing the best in drivers who had attracted controversy. He rarely criticised drivers and preferred to give the benefit of the doubt in attributing blame for incidents.
Walker was born Graeme Murray Walker at 214 Reddings Lane in Hall Green, Birmingham, Warwickshire on 10 October 1923. His father Graham Walker was a despatch rider and works motorcyclist for Norton Motorcycle Company, who participated in the Isle of Man TT. His mother Elsie Spratt was the daughter of Harry Spratt, a businessman from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. In 1925 Walker and his family moved to Wolverhampton when Graham became the Competition Manager for Sunbeam. The family later moved to Coventry in 1928 when Graham worked as the Sales and Competition Director for Rudge-Whitworth.
Walker's education began with a governess at the family home which followed by attending preparatory schools around the country. Walker attended Highgate School gaining a Distniction in Divinity. Within two years of Walker's arrival at Highgate he joined the School Bugles, learning to play the Bugle. At the outbreak of World War II Highgate governors became concerned about the possible extent of bombing raids on London with Walker and his fellow students being evacuated to Westward Ho!. Students returned one year early and later returned to Devon remaining there until 1941. Within this time Walker rose to the rank of Company Sergeant Major of the School Corps.
Walker was later conscripted into the armed forces and applied to volunteer for tanks but was required to wait due to the lack of resources supplied by the Armed Forces. Walker worked with the Dunlop Rubber Company where they offered 12 scholarships yearly and was based at Fort Dunlop. As part of the evacuation scheme imposed by the British Government Walker was evacuated to Erdington living with the Bellamy family at 58 Holly Lane. On 1 October 1942 he took a train from Waterloo to Wool where he reported to the 30th Primary Training Wing at Bovington, the headquarters of the Royal Armoured Corps. He later graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Scots Greys. He went on to command a Sherman Tank and participate in the Battle of the Reichswald with the 4th Armoured Brigade. He left the Army having attained the rank of Captain.
Walker then worked in advertising for Dunlop and Aspro. He was then employed by the Masius advertising agency, with clients including Mars, Vauxhall Motors and British Rail. He did not retire from this until the age of 59, long after he was famed as a commentator. He also briefly competed in motorcycle races himself.
Walker is often wrongly attributed with having invented the famous slogan "A Mars a day helps you work rest and play": "[it] was something that I administered, but I never invented it. I'll tell you how it got ascribed to me. It got put into an obituary file, maybe all of my obituary files, and I can't get rid of it. It's amazing the way it sticks."
Walker did, however, create the slogan "Trill makes budgies bounce with health" - a famous advertising slogan for bird seed in the 1960s as well as the slogan "Opal Fruits, made to make your mouth water." 
Walker made his first broadcast at Shelsley Walsh hillclimb in 1948. By 1949 he was commentating on races alongside Max Robertson, although it wasn't until the late 1970s that each Formula 1 race was given extensive coverage on British television. He did occasional Formula 1 commentaries during the 1970s, going full-time for the 1978 season. He commentated on Formula 1 through to the 2001 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
His first regular work was on radio coverage of the Isle of Man TT, initially alongside his father. After Graham's death in 1962, Murray took over the lead role. He covered motocross (initially for ITV) during the 1960s and rallycross in the 1970s and early 1980s. He occasionally commentated on motorcycle racing and rallying. Walker also covered the BTCC for the BBC between 1988 and 1997, and the Macau event for Hong Kong TV on nine occasions.
On Formula One coverage from 1980 to 1993, Walker struck up a surprisingly successful, and extremely popular, double act with 1976 World Champion James Hunt. Initially they did not get on, as Hunt's interests, personality and private life appeared to have little in common with Walker's. However, the pair eventually became good friends. Walker and Hunt were to work together for more than a decade at the BBC, until Hunt's sudden death from a heart attack two days after the 1993 Canadian Grand Prix.
When in the commentary booth together, Walker would provide his typically animated descriptions of the action, with Hunt bringing in his expert knowledge (which included inside information from the pits, typically from his former team McLaren), and often opinionated nature, in his co-commentary role. The pair didn't always get along in the commentary box though. Typically, they had to share one microphone which meant passing it back and forth to each other, with the usually sitting Hunt waving a hand (often unsuccessfully) in Walker's face when he wanted the microphone (Walker would often stand while doing race commentary, especially at the start of a race). On one occasion early in their partnership, Walker wouldn't hand the microphone over after repeated attempts by Hunt for him to do to. In frustration, Hunt stood and grabbed the microphone from him, which caused the normally cool Walker to grab the former World Champion by the collar and raise his fist to hit his partner, though cooler heads prevailed and they continued to form a successful partnership.
After Hunt died, former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer joined Walker in the commentary box until the end of 1996, though in 1993 others such as 1980 World Champion Alan Jones took the role as Walker's partner for the "fly away" races in Japan and Australia at the end of the season. The following year, the television rights for the UK coverage transferred to ITV, and Walker followed. His co-commentator from the 1997 season onwards until his retirement from commentating was another F1 driver, Martin Brundle. There were few Grands Prix between 1978 and 1996 that Walker did not commentate on while employed by the BBC, usually as a result of his actually commentating elsewhere. Some of these included the 1979 Belgian Grand Prix and 1988 Hungarian Grand Prix (when Simon Taylor deputised for him), the German Grands Prix of 1981 and 1984 (both commentated on by Barrie Gill), and the 1985 German Grand Prix (Tony Jardine).
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