He was part of the broadcasting landscape for more than 50 years and his celebrity extended far beyond the sport that made him famous. Murray Walker published his own autobiography in 2002, but this is his life story told from the other side, by those who knew him well, collaborated with him – and universally adored him. As they would, for he had a warmth and humility that made it almost impossible not to like him.
Published as a tribute to Walker, who died last March at the age of 97, the book is a series of (mostly) chronological essays assembled by Maurice Hamilton and related with his trademark literary elegance. There are plenty of Walker TV transcripts, too – and they come across not as words on a page but as a voice in your head.
The biographical details – father Graham’s success as a motorcycle racer (he also sold Rudge-Whitworth bikes to Enzo Ferrari), his own military career (he was a tank captain during the Second World War) and a long, distinguished stint in the advertising industry (he sometimes ate dog food, to illustrate how good it was to potential customers) – are covered in dispatches, but the heart of the book is his commentary career, which began on a part-time basis in the 1940s and then accelerated as he shared microphone duties with his father on the Isle of Man TT before becoming the voice of rallycross, scrambling (motocross, for those under 40) and eventually Formula 1.