2009 BBC Commentary Team Predictions

2009 BBC Commentary Team Predictions

Martin Brundle and Mark BlundellFollowing the news of the BBC winning the rights to air Formula One from next season onwards, and reading Sidepodcast’s tweet, I’ve decided to let you guys have your say by way of a vote. Below is the voting form so you can vote in who you think will be in the commentary box in 2009. As it stands, unless you know how to delete cookies, you can only make one vote. Therefore, let’s assume that the BBC will retain Martin Brundle because he’s so wonderfully good at his job. But who will join him…?


Poll edited to remove excess additions of Murray Walker. The two extra votes have been added to the initial listing.


  • Murray Walker has had his day – he was crap then, he’d be worse now. What a wonderful chance to get someone who can actually see what car is spinning into the gravel and who remembers that it can’t be Joe Bloggs because he blew up on the first lap. There may have been some entertainment in listening to a drunken James Hunt correcting Murray time after time but it wears thin after a while. Spare Brundle from having to spend the entire race race from saying “Er, no Murray, it’s Finkelheimer actually.”

    At least Johnny Herbert could make the jokes, rather than be one.

  • he was crap then, heโ€™d be worse now

    Of course, having Murray return wouldn’t happen in a month of Sundays, but I completely disagree with your statement.

    Murray may have made mistakes, had trouble identifying the cars and drivers and always had to be corrected by his sidekick, but he wasn’t crap. He has what others don’t and that is pure, unadulterated and unforgiving passion. It shines through his voice and fills living rooms the world over. He added audio-colour to the sport. I do not know of any other commentator from any sport that has had the impact that Murray has. Admittedly, I don’t watch a lot of other sports, but I’m pretty confident with my remark.

    I didn’t get to hear it, but Walker did make a brief return at last year’s European Grand Prix for Radio 5Live. If anyone did hear it, maybe they could chime in and say if he was as good/bad as he was back in the ’90s when I first heard him.

    At the time of writing, Murray has four votes and sits in second behind Croft who is on five.

  • Cheers Don. I think I have heard him and I think he’d do okay. But if I am thinking of the right person then I don’t think he’d go well with Brundle. I have this impression they are a bit too similar. Again, I could be wrong. Anyone else heard Edwards and has a better memory than me? Chime on in…

  • You’ve all forgotten, haven’t you? I suffered Walker’s alleged commentary through the seventies, eighties and nineties and I don’t forget. He was awful, passion or not (personally, I’d describe it more as artificially exaggerated verbal diarrhoea but I suppose you’re all going to insist on “passion”) and he was universally detested amongst those who knew their F1 (maybe that’s why we hated him – we knew who was spinning off and would be yelling at the TV “No it’s not Rompelmeyer, you idiot, it’s Cluck!” – I can only presume it was the casual fanbase that worshipped him and eventually made him into a British institution – and we are not allowed to attack institutions).

    Let Murray rest amongst his memories and let’s have some new blood in there. Surely there must be a professional commentator who also loves F1 hiding in a back room of the Beeb somewhere?

    But I do think Johnny Herbert would be a great laugh next to Brundle.

  • I know what you’re saying Clive. I honestly think Murray was a superb commentator, but I do rate passion higher than ability. Hell, I’m a crap blogger, but people still come here and read what i have to say. I guess readers are able to read through my words and hear the passion that lies behind the keyboard.

    When I was putting the poll together I was thinking of British people who could be good in the ‘box. Brundle is the obvious choice and that led to me thinking of other ex-drivers. Herbert came to me and like you, I actually think he’d be really good. He’s chirpy, knows his stuff and is a lovable character. Anyone know what he’s up to these days? He did a [non-driving] stint at Jordan back in the ’00s, but has fallen off the radar since.

  • Edwards’ style would be like Murrary, but less mistakes. Plenty of passion. (I remember a CART race where he shouted himself hoarse! (Blundell and his teammate Mauricio Gugelmin both retired from the lead on the last lap.))

  • You are anything but a crap blogger, Ollie, and your output always amazes me. To be absolutely honest, I don’t really care who the Beeb gets to do the commentary – the main thing is that there’ll be no ad breaks. I thought I’d liven up your comments on this one by insulting Muddly Talker – it usually gets plenty of protests.

    I don’t particularly rate the guy as a commentator but it’s not an issue with me (although I do get heartily sick of the constant praise and adulation heaped on his shoulders these days). If he was brought back, it wouldn’t be long before everyone would be moaning about him again. Thing is, we can always turn off the commentary.

    Johnny is a gas, a comedian with a great touch and insight, but I don’t think he’d make a great commentator in reality. They need to find someone completely new to the public who really knows his stuff and cares about it – and, knowing the Beeb, that’s exactly what they’ll do. It’s gone on for years, ITV stealing the Beeb’s best commentators only for Auntie to produce someone fresh-faced and even better than the old has-been that ITV pinched. Where is the thinking man’s crumpet now (what was her name?)?

  • I thought Iโ€™d liven up your comments on this one

    I figured by your choice of language. Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    your output always amazes me

    I blushingly thank you.

    The thinking man’s crumpet? The only petrolhead-crumpet I can think of is Vicki Butler-Henderson, but she won’t do in the ‘box. Anyone else have any ideas?

  • I’m afraid I’ll have to agree with Clive – it would be terrible if Murray Walker made a return to the commentary box!

    As you say Ollie, he had passion and enthusiasm oozing from every pore but the number of mistakes he made drove me mad!

    Passion for what you are doing is all very well, but if I’m having a heart attack and 2 doctors turn up, one who is excellent at his job and the other who is rubbish but very passionate and enthusiastic I know which one I’d want operating on me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I was actually just thinking that depending on how the season goes, perhaps a newly retired DC could join his manager Brundle in the box…

  • I was thinking of Carol Vorderman, actually. She was hugely successful in the BBC show Countdown, her dramatic looks and amazing mathematical powers propelling her to immediate favorite as the thinking man’s crumpet. She had a bit of a squabble with the Beeb in 1999 and ITV lured her away with pots of money – the result was a classic case of ITV not knowing what to do with someone of Vorderman’s skills. Basically, they made her into a tart on crummy game shows and celebrity nonsense. Needless to say, she lost all credibility instantly with her brainy fans.

    It was an attempt to illustrate the difference between the BBC’s style and ITV’s.

  • Oliver,

    I commented over on sidepodcast about the news but I think we (America) needs some overseas help. We (or I, because I am not sure of all cable networks) at Comcast Cable get BBC America. We need some help getting the BBC to televise the race on BBC America.

  • @Ashleigh: Nail. Hammer. Head. Whack! Did you see their attempt at hosting a radio show though? For sure the whole thing was faked ballsed up on purposed, but still! It would be amusing to hear how the boys do at an F1 race though.

    I enjoyed your Australia run-through post, by the way.

    Edit: Erm, at the time of writing, James Allen has five votes and is lying in third. I know that maybe some of you may have miss-clicked and that is a problem we all face from time to time. Some of you may think he is a good commentator but that is only because you haven’t heard any different. But five! FIVE! Come on people, work with me here! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Cheers for that, nice of you to say…

    As for who clicked on James ‘Stop The C**k’ Allen (yes I still wear my Sniff Petrol T shirt) I hope you have the IP addresses logged, and probably sure that they all come from ITV’s address range… The reason they let the BBC have the F1 was to get rid ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I’m with you Ollie — I had fond memories of Muzza but then compared to Allen that isn’t a surprise. I do agree it is time to get new blood in. Croft would be good, I suppose.

    I don’t think enough consideration has been given to making sure Blundell stays part of the team. The man is an absolute monkey, but boy is he entertaining.

  • Agreed, and brundle and Blundel work well together when they are allowed to.

    Plus it would be a shame for the BBC to stop the technical insight series that the two of them do together.

    It would be nice for the beeb to introduce some young blood into the sport, but not sacrifice all the stuff that made the ITV show good, after all ITV does not put on a bad show overall.

  • commentators – Ben Edwards & martin brundell

    Presenter(s) – Steve Rider & martin blundell

    Ted Kravitz – Pit reporter

    David croft – Pre-race preview

    Louis goodman i think should keep her job

  • Oo er! People will think me odd – but I think the present team does a pretty good job and I can’t think of a race where the current team of commentators has spoilt anything. Murray Walker on the other hand made me feel embarrassed for him many times.

  • I sure hope that it is not james allen!,my bet that it will be Martin Brundle and possibly Ben Edwards?

  • I think the team should be:

    Presenter: Suzi Perry (is very good on Moto GP IMO.)

    Main commentator: David Croft.

    Summeriser: David Coultard.

    Pits: Dan Walker and Johnny Herbert.

    Simon Brotherton to replace Croft on 5 live.

    Don’t think Steve Rider will come back to the Beeb anytime soon.

  • I cannot think of one person from the current team who should be kept – with the possible exception of Louise Goodman. James Allen is one of the worst commentators I have ever heard; he seems to believe that shouting loudly and being wrong will get him a Murray type standing (who I wouldn’t want back either). He spends the rest of the time sucking up to Brundle whose commentary is a mixture of spite and politics – and am I the only one who thinks there’s a conflict of interest in a manager doing the commentary? Let’s have someone more recent in the driver seat – Damon or David would do a decent job, and someone new. Also, the best UK team I’ve ever heard are the Moto GP Eurosport duo, and they’re available next year…..

  • am I the only one who thinks thereโ€™s a conflict of interest in a manager doing the commentary?

    Thing is, Brundle is quite open about it when he feels the need to be. And Brundle has often criticised Coulthard on many occasions for incidents that he feels are his driver’s fault. I don’t see it as a problem.

    The other thing is, we all want relatively recent drivers commentating because of their knowledge. But drivers, once retired, will often remain directly involved with the sport in one shape or form. Coulthard has already said that will remain with Red Bull in a Schumacher-at-Ferrari-type role (as far as I can gather). Isn’t that just as much of a conflict should DC become a commentator?

  • Potentially yes, but at least it would be one declared relationship, rather than a constant hunt for others. I still think Julian Ryder & Toby Moody might be the answer.

  • I do have doubts about james allen, but he has been around for a long time, and knows his stuff! He was more suited to the pits than ted kravitz! I believe the team should remain the same, as they work well together and rarely make mistakes.

    I hope to God we don’t get hammond or clarkson because they’d trail off, talking about road cars, and loose focus on the racing!!

    And finally, Murray was a legend!, who cud make even the dullest gp, edge of your seat stuff! He made mistakes, but have you ever tried to mute the tv during a race and commentate?? Very easy to slip up!!

  • Please please keep Brundell over the years he has grown tremendously into his role. Also feel he does not blast you with all the technical knowledge he has under his belt say in the form of ‘when I was driving’

    Don’t feel Damon Hill would be any good heard him commentating in the past and he never sounds comfortable.

    Quite frankly love the present ITV team but no no to Clarkson (yuk best suited fronting Top Gear)

    David Coulthard could be excellent, always concise and level headed when making comments. Would it pay him more than keeping the connectionn with Red Bull.

    Hazel Notts

  • You know, I was thinking. I think that the BBC need to introduce a completely new approach to the race build up, the race coverage, and the reviews. Now that we are in the era of the Red Button, it would be a perfect oppotunity for them. I had in mind the F1 Digital format, where it had multiple choices- the studio, where Damon Hill, some journalists, and the commentators, pundits sat and talked, whilst thered be pit reporters getting right into the mix of things.

    Race team:

    David Croft, Anthony Davidson(pundit), Martin Brundle (main comentator), John Watson, Ben Edwards (as commentators), David Coulthard (pundit), Murray Walker (part time commentator), Damon Hill (pundit), Louise Goodman (pit reporter), Peter Windsor (pit reporter, insider), Jim Rosenthal (presenter). All represent the passion, buzz and feel for an f1 season!

  • Murray walker is great, I don’t think there will ever be a better racing commentator than him. It would be great to see him back where he belongs. His passion, mistakes, excitement all bring F1 to life, with brundle next to him to keep him on track when he goes off an a tangent he’ll be fine, good team.

    Most of all I would like to see Mark Blundell stay.

  • I’m not bringing down on the BBC but i think its going to be hard to beat Itv they did a preety good job of broadcasting it but in my mind coulthard and brundel should commentatte

  • Re Murray on five live – he was brilliant. I had his commentary to ITV pictures and it made F1 enjoyable again. I lost interest in the TV version when ITV took over – there were too many times when they returned from a break and mis-described what had happened while they were away (and I was watching on RTE).

  • At the end of 2009 season, it has been a terrific job from the commentators. Martin Brundle is a must for 2010, maybe with Johnny Herbert, and David Coulthard is another must. Jake Humphreys got better as the season went on, and I can do without E.J.

    It is certainly great to hear people who know what they are talking about.

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