As we’re talking about Martin at the moment I thought it might be a good idea to lay on the line my feelings about James Allen.
Unlike some I’ve never hated him. In fact for a long time I tended to be his defender in arguments. I have always realised what a tough job commentating really is and that it was supremely unfair for us to compare Murray who had been a commentator for fifty years and James who had just started.
It wasn’t the same when Martin started because he had Murray standing next to him. He only had to chip in the odd thing at first and then slowly but surely said more and more.
The thing is that being a commentator is really hard, as Martin once said, “Next time the Grand Prix is on, turn the volume down and start talking. See how far you get before you run out of words, or start repeating yourself, or you make a mistake. And it’s not very far.”
And we have really slammed James for his mistakes where Murray’s mistakes we treated with a kind of sense of fun. This must have seemed particularly unfair.
The thing is there is a justifiable reason for this and not just an unfair thing and there was a prime example of it at Canada. Martin was talking about something that had been happening in the pits and he came to the end of his sentence. At this moment the shot changed to one showing just how close Kimi had got to the back of Alonso. And what was James reaction? It was something like this, said in a near monotone, “right so now the two leaders are close together on the track”. And then he went on to talk about something else until he was interrupted by Martin who wanted to point out Kimi had almost overtaken Alonso. He just never seems to get excited.
Actually no that’s not true, he does, but he gets excited just after everyone else does. And when something really great happens he’ll say something like, “Yeah! And who says Formula 1 is getting boring”?
Just imagine the same scene with Murray and you can see the difference:
Murray: “Look at this, the fastest two men in formula 1 at the moment are litterally less than 1 second appart and Rikkonnen is looking racy, I say the fastest men in Formula 1 because Michael is in the pits”.
Martin: “Actually Murray he’s just lapped a Super Aguri”.
Look me in the eye and tell me you don’t miss commentating like that! It might have been wrong, but there was no way you could accuse him of lacking passion. James please, please get more excited.