I once had the pleasure of meeting Murray Walker, the iconic ‘trousers on fire’ Formula 1 commentator who retired from the sport ten years ago after a phenomenal career as the voice of Formula 1. Murray was everything I expected him to be and then more: gregarious, self-deprecating, and just exuding enthusiasm for the sport he loves.
On Sunday night, BBC2 premiered its documentary Murray Walker: Life In The Fast Lane – a take on his life story that he describes as being about a multitude of obsessions “with cars, with bikes, with the growl and roar of a hungry engine”.
In this one-hour documentary narrated entirely by Murray, the cameras follow the now-87-year-old as he criss-crosses the globe, including his visit to Australia in March for the V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 in Adelaide and the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Along the way, he reminisces about his career during and before Formula 1: starting out as part of a father-son commentary duo with his father as they covered the Isle of Man TT in the 1940s and 1950s, captaining a tank regiment in the British Army during the Second World War, and a lengthy and successful career in advertising, much of it while moonlighting as a motorsport commentator.
There are great contributions from the greats of British motorsport – Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill – as well as from his commentating peers, such as Steve Rider and Martin Brundle. Their message is universal: there will be no one else like Murray, and his ‘Murrayisms’ are the stuff of legend.
There’s also plenty of great archival footage, starting out with some graining footage of his days doing motorbike commentary in the early days, his disagreements with co-commentator James Hunt, his on-air gaffes, and the touching moments such as Ayrton Senna’s death and Damon Hill’s championship title win.
For the Formula 1 fan, this documentary is an absolute must-see. It’s Murray at his irreverent and nostalgic best, and fans who’ve grown up watching his inimitable style will absolutely love this.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award Murray Walker: Life In The Fast Lane…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE 5.