How to master the art of commentary from the people who know best

BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss, Grand National race caller Simon Holt and Boat Race commentator Jonathan Legard explain the secrets of great sports commentary – with a little help from past masters Richie Benaud and Murray Walker...

US Masters golf. The Grand National. The Boat Race. Three very different sporting events all crammed into one weekend.


Most of us will need more than a little helping hand when we settle down to watch, and that’s where the commentators come in. On the BBC, the Voice of Golf himself, 84-year-old Peter Alliss, is still calling the shots after more than half a century. He’ll be casting a quizzical, perhaps occasionally controversial eye, over Augusta National.

When Saturday comes, the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races will take over the Thames, and former Formula One commentator Jonathan Legard will be keeping his words short and his feet dry as the two crews pull for the line.

And then there is the Grand National, maybe the toughest commentary challenge of them all. Forty horses thundering towards the first fence, silks and hooves flying, riders falling, punters praying – how does Channel 4’s lead commentator Simon Holt keep on top of it all?


With the sad passing of another commentary icon, cricket great Richie Benaud, it’s the ideal time to learn the secrets to great sports broadcasting.