John Hanmer was a fixture on BBC racing coverage, well known for his work on the Grand National.
John Hanmer, a former BBC Grand National commentator, passes away at age 82.
Hanmer a famous BBC racing commentator, passed away at the age of 82.
“It’s very sad – he was a great friend and colleague. He was a fixture in the press box for well over 45 years and a great operator who was hugely popular. ” I spoke to him last week and he was in good form, and although his health hasn’t been great he was still passionate about racing and betting. Racing was his life right to the very end.
” I think he called 32 Grand Nationals, including Red Rum’s win in 1973, and he was terrific. ” His finest moment on the BBC Grand Nationals was Red Marauder in 2001 when the power went down at Becher’s just before the race. Tony O’Hehir, the Becher’s commentator, was muted because of the power blackout, so John had to do his own legs and also Tony’s, so essentially he called the bulk of the race, which was a heroic performance.
“It was a very difficult commentary to pull off and he did it in terrific style, he was unflustered and remained calm in what was one of the most eventful Nationals ever run.”
Commentator Ian Bartlett, who worked with Hanmer for a decade at the BBC, said:
“He was a tremendously polite man with a fantastic sense of humor. I had lunch with him two weeks ago and his memory of things going back to the ’50s was fantastic and he was still razor-sharp. ” I only worked with him a few times when I was a commentator and he was a race reader, but he instinctively knew what you had missed. He knew exactly what was going on and was solid – he didn’t make a fuss about it but was very good.”
John Hanmer was well-known in the racing world for his lengthy tenure as a member of the Grand National commentary team for BBC television from 1972 to 2003 and as Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s BBC commentary assistant from 1971 to 1997.
Grand National commentator
His most prominent position was as a Grand National commentator for the BBC, joining the likes of O’Sullivan, Julian Wilson, and Jim McGrath. He took over when the runners crossed the Melling Road. Hanmer primarily worked for the BBC as a “spotter” for O’Sullevan and later McGrath, but he would also assume control of the microphone after the live races had been broadcast on Grandstand, perhaps most notably in 1996 at Ascot when he called the final three races of Frankie Dettori’s Magnificent Seven.
Along with Jimmy Lindley, he served as the BBC’s paddock commentator. In 1960, Hanmer began working as a race reader for Raceform. He was a jockey agent as well as a pundit, mostly representing Cash Asmussen and Steve Cauthen.
At the HWPA Awards the previous year, he received the President’s Award. Hanmer, an enthusiastic cricket fan who often visited Australia to see the Ashes, had a large racing social circle, including former trainers Barry Hills and David Gandolfo.
About his early life and Relationship
John Hanmer was 82 years old at the time of his death. He holds British nationality and he belongs to the white ethnicity.
John Hanmer and his wife Gillie resided in East Challow, near Wantage, for more than 30 years.