The Joy of Six: commentators who lose themselves in the moment

<span>Murray Walker;  Frank Bruno with Harry Carpenter;  and snowboarder Jenny Jones.</span><span>Composite: Guardian Picture Desk</span>” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ d37cc71baf9ad8″ data-src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 71baf9ad8″/><button class=

Murray Walker; Frank Bruno with Harry Carpenter; and snowboarder Jenny Jones.Composite: Guardian Picture Desk

Björge Lillelien

Long before Gary Neville’s ‘goalgasm’ over Fernando Torres at Camp Nou or Roy Keane ruined another Manchester United display, there was the authentic GOAT of gloating: Bjørge Lillelien. The situation: Norway had come from behind to beat England 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier in 1981, and a more than ecstatic Lillelien started telling us about it at the top of his lungs. “We are the best in the world!” he crowed in Norwegian. “It’s unbelievable. England, home of giants!”

Then Bjørge started to put his O-level in English history to good use. ‘Lord Nelson! Lord Beaverbrook! Sir Winston Churchill! Lord Anthony Eden! Clement Attlee! Hendrik Kuiper! Lady Diana! We beat them all!” Before switching to English before the coup de grâce: “Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher…your boys took a real beating!’

Far be it from us to point out that not many English fans cared what Beaverbrook (d. 1964) or Attlee (1967) thought of this defeat and that Lillelien could have updated his references a bit (Elton John! Kate Bush! Steve Davis! Bruce Forsyth! Lord Blackadder! Cilla Black, can you hear me, Cilla Black etc. What struck a chord was the Scandinavian’s joy at that moment lasted longer than the memories of the match that inspired it.

Murray Walker

Murray Walker had the perfect pitch for Formula 1, his voice rising and revving like an engine at full throttle. The thought that he would find a new, higher gear for emotions is mind-boggling, but he did that in Japan in 1996. Damon Hill had not found it easy to win over the British public. The son of a charismatic former world champion, Graham Hill – who died in a plane crash when Damon was 15 – he found himself on the wheels of the blunt, beloved Nigel Mansell. Hill was a more reserved type and perhaps that made Walker feel particularly protective of him.

After finishing second behind Michael Schumacher for two years, the Williams driver was given the opportunity to claim an F1 title of his own by winning the final race of the ’96 season. “Damon Hill leaves the chicane to win the Japanese Grand Prix,” Murray announced. “And I have to stop because I have a lump in my throat.” In the silence that followed, as Walker sobbed into the microphone, it became clear that the man who had all the words – who could roar excitedly about the dullest F1 parade – had suddenly become the most eloquent when he said nothing at all.

Harry Carpenter

Frank Bruno’s double act with Harry Carpenter was a key part of the British boxer’s great popularity in the 1980s. But for Carpenter, while the odd couple jokes were fun for TV interviews, it was important to maintain a disciplined BBC neutrality when calling a fight. That veneer was blown apart when Bruno went to the US in 1989 to challenge the brooding, ruthless world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Tyson knocking Bruno down early in the first round wasn’t a surprise, but the challenger firing back to wobble Iron Mike was a shock.

‘Bruno’s face is already scarred, but he fights back and hurt Tyson with a good left hand! He knows he can hurt him now,” Carpenter shouted, before urging him in a hoarse voice to continue slugging, “Come in, Frank!” Hearing himself back, the commentator was shocked. “This should never have happened,” he said. “Suddenly I shouted: ‘Come in, Frank’. I’m ashamed of that today because it was very unprofessional. But I couldn’t stop myself… I wanted Frank to win.” Bruno lost by KO in the fifth round, but those four words, uttered when ‘Arry momentarily let his guard down, told viewers how he really felt about his friend in the ring.

Verne Lundquist

Sometimes we have to accept: Americans do it better. The most famous shot of Tiger Woods’ legendary career is That chip at the 2005 Masters. The world’s best golfer ran into trouble on the 16-hour hole of his final round and played from the rough green to the green. But when his perfectly placed shot landed 25 feet from the pin and then began trickling flawlessly toward it, American commentator Verne Lundquist picked up the thread and accelerated from whisper to screech in seconds.

“Here it comes… oh mah goodness,” he said as the ball drifted towards the hole, teetered on the edge and then – the Nike logo perfectly balanced – fell into it. ‘Oh WOW! Have you seen something like this in your LIFE?!” Lundquist exclaimed, as a delighted Woods high-fived his caddie and Augusta patrons went to eat bananas. Meanwhile, at Aunt Beeb’s, the Venerable Peter Alliss could only say a deadpan ‘thank you’ as the ball dropped, while someone else in the commentary box (Ken Brown?) – having possibly just spilled hot tea on their lap – uttered a vague tone. added. , disappointed “oh no” in the background. A case of CBS 1-0 BBC.

Aimee Fuller, Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood

The trio made more than 300 complaints to the BBC and were branded “a handful of unemployed child entertainers” by the Guardian’s Stuart Heritage – and he defended them. All this in response to the British feel-good moment of Sochi 2014. Jenny Jones, 33 and in her last Games, won slopestyle bronze – GB’s first ever Olympic medal on snow – and commentators Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood, plus snowboarder Aimee Fuller, did not. false neutrality.

The cheerleading during Jones’ second run was just a taste: Ten athletes were able to beat her score of 87.25, so eight had to fall short before Jones could claim a medal. Provide some elite level schadenfreude, especially when Austria’s Anna Gasser fell and the trio started squealing with joy. ‘Should we do that? Probably not,” Fuller rightly judged. Luckily, Warwood was there to provide some balance: “You can cry Aimee, it’s okay. Both Ed and Aimee are crying – and now I’m going! All professionalism goes straight out the window.”

No commentary oozing with the gravitas of the greats (for example, we can’t imagine Barry Davies saying, “This feels like I have slugs in my underpants” as the tension builds). But damn over 300 spoilsports, it was a truly joyous moment at a Games overshadowed by the negativity of three people who knew the impact Jones’ bronze could have on the sport they loved.

Mick Morgan

Mick Morgan’s take on Castleford beating rugby league powerhouse Wigan in the 1994 Regal Trophy final should only have been heard by Tigers fanatics as he was the club’s in-house commentator. But the Yorkshireman’s lively prose eventually gained a cult following, racking up seven-figure YouTube views and coining a three-word catchphrase that was later panned by darts commentators and many more. I’ve never seen anything like it!

A swinging forearm from Wigan prop Kelvin Skerrett into Andy Hay’s face is the spark that lights Morgan’s fuse. “Oh, what about that? Send him away! Send away those dirty gits… who were devils. Get him off the field! That’s just typical of who he is.” But the flourish of a yellow from the referee, Dave Campbell, helps Morgan find a whole new level of stroke. ‘He gave him a yellow card. I can not talk! You bottleless boy, Campbell. You jerk… I can’t talk.”

Still urged by Morgan: “Come on Cas, rub it in!” – Lee Crooks’ effort from the resulting penalty sees the former England international go from commentary frenzy to rapture. “What a great effort! Slide it onto yours. He is the best prop in the world, let alone anyone else.” Before Mick concludes in style: “What a fantastic performance! We all can’t talk.” Quite the opposite; It turns out Morgan could speak for all of us.

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