Harry Carpenter Remembered

The BBC pay tribute to former BBC Sport commentator Harry Carpenter who has died at the age of 84.

Barbara Slater, Director BBC Sport, said: “Harry Carpenter was for decades one of the standout voices of sports broadcasting. While many will no doubt best remember him for his boxing commentaries on the BBC, he should also be hailed for his work on a number of other flagship BBC programmes such as Sportsnight, Grandstand, Wimbledon, the BBC’s golf coverage, the Boat Race and of course the Olympics.

“Harry’s passing is a huge loss to the world of sports broadcasting. His journalistic credentials, professionalism and presence marked him out as an inspirational figure for a generation of aspiring presenters, commentators and producers.

“He will be sorely missed by all those who had the good fortune to work with and learn from a master. We send our deepest sympathies to his family.”

Carpenter was born in South-East London in 1925. Living in Norwood his interest in sport, and notably boxing came from his father who was involved with a local sports club.

In 1949 he made his first boxing commentary broadcast for the BBC. But it was the 1980s that he became a cult figure thanks to boxer Frank Bruno who coined the catchphrase “know what I mean, ‘Arry?”. The notoriety of this saw the pair work in commercials and were lampooned by ITV’s Spitting Image comedy puppet show. Frank Bruno today said he was “very upset” by the news of the 84-year-old’s death.

It wasn’t just boxing however that Harry put his vocal skills to. He also provided coverage for Wimbledon which saw him welcome and work alongside Sue Barker for the 1993 coverage.

Harry Carpenter retired in 1993, but returned to the BBC in 2001 briefly for special boxing coverage.