OLIVER HOLT: Murray Walker's passing marks the end of an era... like Richie Benaud and David Coleman his voice was enough to spike the heart rate, he was part of the soundtrack of our lives
I am from a generation of sports fans who grew up idolising commentators such as Dan Maskell, David Coleman, Richie Benaud and Cliff Morgan.
Their words breathed vivid colours into the action that unfolded in front of us on our screens. The sound of their voice was enough to spike the heart rate, the sign that something special was about to unfold. Murray Walker was the last of them.
I spent four seasons working in Formula One in the mid-1990s and even though I did not socialise with Murray that often, I got to know him well enough to realise that he was one of the most genuine, amiable, open and welcoming of men.
Sometimes, broadcasters have a public persona that hides their real self. Murray was not like that.
Murray was the same in real life as he was behind the microphone. He was vivacious and enthusiastic and passionate and knowledgeable. He loved motor sport with every fibre of his being. And most of all, he had not an ounce of malice in him.
I got a message on Twitter on Saturday from an old friend. ‘Was lucky enough to go the British GP once with pit lane passes,’ he wrote. ‘Watched the start stood next to Murray Walker as he commentated. He was a gent to two loons who couldn’t believe where we were.’
That was Murray all over. He was a gent to everyone he met. And he had the kind of love for the sport that you could not fake. I think that is one of the reasons why viewers and listeners loved him so much. Sure, he made mistakes now and again but that made him even more relatable. And the drivers loved him, too.
There are other superb commentators in sport today but the passing of Murray Walker marks the end of an era.
Hear his voice and it makes you think of Mansell and Piquet, Prost and Senna. He was part of the soundtrack of our lives.