James Allen’s 100th Grand Prix

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Six years ago James Allen officially took over the ITV mike from Murray Walker.

He had done a few live F1 broadcasts for ITV before then, and last weekend saw him rack up his 100th.

So it was quite fitting that the Canadian Grand Prix should be won by Lewis Hamilton – Allen makes no secret of the fact that he is a big fan of the McLaren driver.

Allen gets a very rough time from F1 fans, especially online, and I can’t say I’m a fan of his commentary style. I always thought he was better suited to the pit lane reporter role.

But whatever you think of him, you have to appreciate his enthusiasm.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “James Allen’s 100th Grand Prix”

  1. He’s a better writer than he is commentator. And he isn’t that good a writer.

    Having said that, I don’t think he’s as awful as Murray Walker.

  2. “you have to appreciate his enthusiasm.”

    if he was as enthusiastic about racing as he is about the sound of his own voice, then yes i would.

  3. Now that I have access to high speed internet, can anyone say where I can find some of the Brittish broadcasts of F1 races-just want to compare Allen to our US guys.

  4. Murray Walker is the best damn commentator in the world.

  5. Murray was an impossible act to follow, though he did for a time suffer abuse before he reached his status of ‘national treasure’. Allen’s immediate problem is he is not Murray and secondly he seems to have no chemistry with Martin Brundle which does not help either.

    Allen needs to rethink his style and perhaps appreciate how his commentaries sound to the viewer. His tendency to prattle irritates and his infarction sometimes sounds strained and false.

    One detrimental impact of the Hamilton phenomenon is that ITV will have a huge ratings boost without trying and will probably not feel the need to improve its coverage.

  6. believe me ITV has the best commentators in the world. I haven’t found any that come close!

  7. I must admit I don’t find Allen as annoying as I used to. I’m not sure if this is just down to familiarity.

    I always thought Simon Taylor would have been the ideal replacement for Murray Walker.

    I find David Croft’s commentary more informed. BBC Radio are certainly upping the ante this year.

  8. Did anybody else laugh at Allen commentating when Hamilton crossed the line last weekend?

    “Lewis Hamilton…….wins!”

    It was such a classic example of reserved British enthusiasm. I’d take impassioned screams of genuine delight over that anyday. He sounded all too aware that he was being broadcast to millions of homes for my personal liking.

    I’d love to hear some of the Latin commentary that accompanies the races in other countries. See if they have something similar to that (Spanish?) football commentator who shouts the legendary “Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal!” ’til he runs out of breath.

  9. Dump Allen and put Vicki Butler-Henderson in as commentator. Brundle really holds up the F1 commentary single handedly, you could loose the others, just have Brundle and it’d be infinitely better than it is now.

  10. I thought Anthony Davidson did a bang up job my self; although I would rather see him winning races.

    JA is getting more annoying for me as time goes on. In the Canadian race he continued to express surprise that Wurtz (I think) wasn’t brought in when the end plate of his rear wing was damaged despite Brundle having explained exactly why it wasn’t an issue only minutes before. The man’s a Muppet.

  11. The man is a muppet indeed!

    I appreciate that it can’t be an easy job, but for someone whose in their chosen profession (Allen) to be so comprehensively outdone by someone in effectively in their second job (Brundle) is surely an indicator that he should find another job!

    He did the whole “Lewis…Hamilton………wiiiiiiins!!!!!” thing again at Indy – I really hope he’s not trying to start a catchphrase, as that’s going to get really tired in the years to come!

  12. What s really irritating for me is how Allen has started to use his ‘commentary’ (I use that word advisedly) to plug his latest book. Utterly beyond belief that ITV have kept him on for so long.

  13. JA is there as the “professional” commentator. Every race he is shown to be a distant second to MB in that job! The one part that really annoys me big time is when it is time for Martin B to decided on HIS “man of the race” JA opens his big oppinionated trap. There has to be better out there!!!

  14. I know James Allen isn’t quite as good as Murray but he is still a brilliant commentator , is great alongside Martin Brundle, and i really hopes he carries on at BBC next year!

  15. I’m not much of a fan of James Allen. I was a huge Murray Walker fan, so he pales into insignificance for me. To be fair, he doesn’t annoy me as much as he used to, but I find Martin Brundle’s commentary/analysis far more insightful. Does anyone think that the BBC will take him on? I’m hoping not, but it wouldn’t actually surprise me if they did.

  16. I’m sure the BBC has more class than to take on James Allen. All the comments above say it all. "Opinionated trap", "Muppet", "Annoying", Irritating"…… I just hope the Beeb only take on Brundle and Blundell. PLEASE let’s loose Allen and, for that matter, Steve Rider (boring) and Louise Goodman (master of the blindingly obvious). The Beeb showed how to do F1 with class before, they’ll show us again what we’ve been missing. And that’ll include better graphics and the welcome return of "The Chain" themetune, which ITV never managed to match!

  17. You know, I started watching F1 only beacuse of James commentary and if he is not there in commentory box i will never watch F1 again.

  18. Ithink James Allen sounds much better at the BBC. Probably better production.

  19. Brundletrundle
    4th August 2009, 22:35

    Why are there no pigs driving in F1, or other farmyard animals. Even a fruit would be nice.

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