James Allen as a commentator

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KingVoid
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James Allen as a commentator

Post by KingVoid »

I’m an avid watcher of F1 races from the noughties. One thing that’s always bugged me is the hate James Allen used to get at the time. I’ve always felt that James Allen was an incredible commentator. Much of his commentary of iconic F1 moments is imprinted in my memory.

When Michael battled his brother Ralf at Suzuka 2003, and then when he crossed the finish line.
When Kimi passed Fisi for the lead at Japan 2005
His entire commentary of Brazil 2006 was great.
When Hamilton crosses the finish line at Silverstone 2008.
When Vettel crossed the finish line at Monza 2008.

In my opinion he was much better than Crofty at making great moments emotional. There have been plenty of exciting moments from 2012-2019 but I just don’t feel the same emotion from Crofty as I did with Allen. Anyone else feel this way? Maybe I’m just nostalgic?

(Don’t even mention Legard, I’ve erased him from my memory entirely)

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Exediron
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Exediron »

KingVoid wrote:In my opinion he was much better than Crofty at making great moments emotional. There have been plenty of exciting moments from 2012-2019 but I just don’t feel the same emotion from Crofty as I did with Allen. Anyone else feel this way? Maybe I’m just nostalgic?
I never listened to James Allen, but almost anyone would be better than Crofty.
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wolfticket
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by wolfticket »

Exediron wrote:
KingVoid wrote:In my opinion he was much better than Crofty at making great moments emotional. There have been plenty of exciting moments from 2012-2019 but I just don’t feel the same emotion from Crofty as I did with Allen. Anyone else feel this way? Maybe I’m just nostalgic?
I never listened to James Allen, but almost anyone would be better than Crofty.
Fast forward: "I’m an avid watcher of F1 races from the teens. One thing that’s always bugged me is the hate David Croft used to get at the time..." Etc etc :)
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Flash2k11
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Flash2k11 »

History will probably be a kinder to Allen than people were at the time, but a lot of the hate stems from the line that ITV were forcing him to tow at the time, and it did get a bit much at points. I'd take Allen and Brundle as a pairing back tomorrow over any of the pairings since though.
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Alienturnedhuman
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Alienturnedhuman »

Flash2k11 wrote:History will probably be a kinder to Allen than people were at the time, but a lot of the hate stems from the line that ITV were forcing him to tow at the time, and it did get a bit much at points. I'd take Allen and Brundle as a pairing back tomorrow over any of the pairings since though.
I'd rank Brundle and Coulthard as the best post Walker pairing - with Allen/Brundle second, although Brundle didn't like being the lead commentator so I don't think he would have stuck with it. Also, I think that having two drivers from a generation ago may have overly biased opinions in favour of 'driver logic' so maybe incidents like Vettel at Canada and Max/Charles at Austria would have been too one-sided.

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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Asphalt_World »

He is a brilliant pundit and journalist.
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Jezza13
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Jezza13 »

Good to read some favorable reviews of Allen's commentary stylings.

I very much enjoyed his stint on ITV & I think he was pretty hard done by when he was replaced.
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Siao7
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Siao7 »

We were just discussing this on another thread!

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MistaVega23
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by MistaVega23 »

Button's first win in 2006 is legendary commentating :lol:

During the Hamilton early-years he tended to get a little over-exuberant, but overall he was a brilliant commentator. Who remembers Legard? :blush:

These days (in the UK) we have the choice of two: Crofty or Ben Edwards.

I much prefer Edwards during his Eurosport days with John Watson. He was much more relaxed and insightful than he is today, I can't stand his high-pitched screaming whenever something half-exciting happens.

The F2 commentator is brilliant (can't remember his name), but he has a calmness we don't get from either Crofty or Edwards.
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Invade
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Invade »

I really enjoy both James Allen and Ben Edwards and am completely, completely, unmoved by Crofty.

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Alienturnedhuman
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Alienturnedhuman »

MistaVega23 wrote:Button's first win in 2006 is legendary commentating :lol:

During the Hamilton early-years he tended to get a little over-exuberant, but overall he was a brilliant commentator. Who remembers Legard? :blush:

These days (in the UK) we have the choice of two: Crofty or Ben Edwards.

I much prefer Edwards during his Eurosport days with John Watson. He was much more relaxed and insightful than he is today, I can't stand his high-pitched screaming whenever something half-exciting happens.

The F2 commentator is brilliant (can't remember his name), but he has a calmness we don't get from either Crofty or Edwards.
I don't think the commentators are for us, if I'm honest. And by us, I mean the more dedicated / knowledgeable fan. They are there for the casual fan and are there to inject a bit more drama and Hollywood pizzazz into the experience - hence the energised performance. Lower racing formulas are pretty much solely watched by hardcore fans, so those commentaries reflect that.

The fact is, if you know F1 you don't need the general commentary. The info from the pits is useful, keeping you informed of details you are unable to be aware of is useful - but the rest, the 'story telling' of the race. Hardcore F1 fans don't need that - but those with only a passing interest in the sport probably do and they need it to be hyped up to keep them on the channel.

I met both James Allen and Jonathan Legard at the first F1 Fans forum in 2010 and they were both far more knowledgeable and informed than they came across on TV. I think that in James Allen's case (as well as ITV wanting to hype Hamilton as Britain's next big thing) there was a case of them thinking the way to go was to try and replicate the lightning in a bottle that was Murray Walker. It was a case of "he faffed things up a bit and got all excited and everyone loved him - so that's repeat that"

It missed two key details, for a start Murray Walker wasn't loved for his errors (I mean, people used to moan about his errors as much as they do about Crofty's today) - the important detail is that he has been in the sport since before it was televised lived, so he was a part of the fabric.

That's part of the reason I liked Brundle and Coulthard as a team since as they were both ex drivers they couldn't really be sold as being lovable idiots. If Brundle went from being the wise sage in the booth to being Krusty the Clown when he switched to being the lead commentator people would have known it was an act. So they could just commentate normally.

Junglist
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Junglist »

James Allen is currently in my bad books as I used to love reading his JAONF1 blog but he's packed it in now. Sad times.

paulsf1fix
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by paulsf1fix »

I haven't read all the comments but I hope I'm not the only person on here who would say I couldn't stand him...

Made lots of mistakes and believed he was the new Murray Walker, however I watch old F1 races that he commentates on and I appreciate his knowledge of the sport and his love for it. I know this is off topic but Johnathan Legard was terrible, James Allen in comparison was a lot better. I really like Ben Edwards though.

BMWSauber84
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by BMWSauber84 »

He had big shoes to fill after Murray retired but I thought he was quite good and always made the big moments feel big. The only thing that annoyed me somewhat is that he was a bit too slick with the soundbites, it made him sound a bit rehearsed and unnatural at times.

The Brundle/Allen pairing got their fiercest criticism in 2007 and 2008. They were basically accused of catching Hamilton fever. James Allen sounding crestfallen as Kimi won the 2007 world title, and Brundle saying "He's brake tested him" as Hamilton drove into the rear of Alonso in 2008 spring to mind.

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MistaVega23
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by MistaVega23 »

Anyone signed up to F1 TV?

Their archive of races includes English commentary (as an option); I've purposely watched different seasons with different commentators and compared them, so my ranking is:

1. Murray
2. James Allen
3. Brundle
4. Palmer
5. Coulthard
6. Hunt
7. Ben Edwards
8. Crofty
9. Legard
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mikeyg123
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by mikeyg123 »

MistaVega23 wrote:Anyone signed up to F1 TV?

Their archive of races includes English commentary (as an option); I've purposely watched different seasons with different commentators and compared them, so my ranking is:

1. Murray
2. James Allen
3. Brundle
4. Palmer
5. Coulthard
6. Hunt
7. Ben Edwards
8. Crofty
9. Legard
I marginally prefer Crofty to Ben Edwards and would put James Allen a few spaces further down but otherwise agree.

James Allen's problem was that he came after Murray and tried to much to copy his pants on fire style commentary. He also simply didn't have a great voice for it. The exciting moments sounded too forced.

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MistaVega23
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by MistaVega23 »

mikeyg123 wrote:
MistaVega23 wrote:Anyone signed up to F1 TV?

Their archive of races includes English commentary (as an option); I've purposely watched different seasons with different commentators and compared them, so my ranking is:

1. Murray
2. James Allen
3. Brundle
4. Palmer
5. Coulthard
6. Hunt
7. Ben Edwards
8. Crofty
9. Legard
I marginally prefer Crofty to Ben Edwards and would put James Allen a few spaces further down but otherwise agree.

James Allen's problem was that he came after Murray and tried to much to copy his pants on fire style commentary. He also simply didn't have a great voice for it. The exciting moments sounded too forced.
I'd agree with you on the last part, although nowhere near as forced as Crofty and Ben - it's almost as though they're trying too hard to make it exciting whereas Murray just had that natural voice in him.

Alex Jacques would make a good F1 commentator IMO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dpQ22-qKTY

Crazy how much Alex Brundle sounds like his dad.
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SteveW
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by SteveW »

I must admit being guilty of supporting the sniffpetrol.com "Stop The C*ck" campaign to try and get rid of James Allen back in the day :lol:

As has already been said by a few, I think James Allen had the misfortune of following Murray Walker - and despite his many mistakes he was peerless in my opinion when it came to motorsport commentary.

Looking back now, I would definitely prefer James Allen over David Croft.

TheGiantHogweed
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by TheGiantHogweed »

MistaVega23 wrote:
mikeyg123 wrote:
MistaVega23 wrote:Anyone signed up to F1 TV?

Their archive of races includes English commentary (as an option); I've purposely watched different seasons with different commentators and compared them, so my ranking is:

1. Murray
2. James Allen
3. Brundle
4. Palmer
5. Coulthard
6. Hunt
7. Ben Edwards
8. Crofty
9. Legard
I marginally prefer Crofty to Ben Edwards and would put James Allen a few spaces further down but otherwise agree.

James Allen's problem was that he came after Murray and tried to much to copy his pants on fire style commentary. He also simply didn't have a great voice for it. The exciting moments sounded too forced.
I'd agree with you on the last part, although nowhere near as forced as Crofty and Ben - it's almost as though they're trying too hard to make it exciting whereas Murray just had that natural voice in him.

Alex Jacques would make a good F1 commentator IMO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dpQ22-qKTY

Crazy how much Alex Brundle sounds like his dad.
With crofty and Edwards, I don't know if it is just down to personality. But I have heard Ben edwards since 2012. Only started watching Sky for half the races since Channel 4 took over the BBC in 2016. To me, Ben Edwards does shout, but it doesn't sound forced. He has always sounded like this. To me i think it just shows he is passionate for the sport. For example, in practice, when there is not much on, he still keeps talking about F1 or at least related stuff. Crofty to me just sounds like he's angry when there is a lot of action in a race. It really does not sound like he is enjoying himself. Coulthard even commented to Ben after he sounded so excited when verstappen overtook kimi right near the end of the mexican GP 1 year. He was just said to ben that it was very clear that he enjoyed it. I never feel that Ben is forced to do this in a certain style.

I'm not sure Crofty is either, but to me he either sounds angry when there is a lot of action or talks about pies and curries when there is not.

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Banana Man
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Banana Man »

I was always indifferent to Allen, didn’t love him or hate him. Having said that, whilst most people liked his Button - Hungary 06 commentary, I found it quite OTT and irritating.

I quite like the Formula E pairing of Nicholls and Dario if I’m honest. Crofty I don’t mind, so long as Brundle is there.
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Remmirath
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Remmirath »

The Formula E commentary is good. They are talking pretty much all the time, but then Formula E races are shorter and there is usually something happening all the time.

I don't really like any of the commentators who try to make things emotional for people. It doesn't work for me. It comes across as trying to tell me how to feel or assuming that everyone else feels as they do, and these same commentators tend to be the most heavily biased.

Crofty wavers between being incredibly annoying because he's shouting gleefully about absolutely everything and being annoying because he's banging on about something utterly irrelevant and likely also false. I personally don't think that a commentary team needs somebody who's going to shout constantly. The problem with the 'lovable idiot' idea is that idiocy is not, in fact, lovable; it's simply annoying, especially when it goes on for hours. I'd much prefer that the commentators remain quiet when they have nothing to directly comment on.
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Colinjb »

Clearly a superbly knowledgeable and enthusiastic chap but his voice was not right. When he got overly into the moment it truly did sound like he was in pain.

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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by tootsie323 »

I found his commentary style quite annoying but he has a great knowledge of the sport.
Slightly off-tangent, I recall both Brundle and Couthard doing lead commentary and it didn't really work for me. Better when they were (are) the 'straight man' to a lead commentator.
Edwards, I can manage OK. Crofty I find a little more irritating (but, having dropped the Sky channels, I won't be subject to that for a while).
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Biffa
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Biffa »

I’ve watched religiously for 30+ years and for me the James Allen/Martin Brundle and then Coulthard/Brundle pairing stand out as being ahead of anything that came before or indeed after.

But then again I’m also one of the few that think ITV did a great job. :o

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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by medgar »

Biffa wrote:I’ve watched religiously for 30+ years and for me the James Allen/Martin Brundle and then Coulthard/Brundle pairing stand out as being ahead of anything that came before or indeed after.

But then again I’m also one of the few that think ITV did a great job. :o
Easy to forget how limited F1 coverage was pre-ITV to be fair. I imagine most of the flack came from breaks, particularly the odd horrible call like Imola 05 .

I thought Allen was alright, some of the major moments like Button in Hungary sound pretty bad and forced but he & Brundle did nail some key moments like Interlagos 08. He had some annoying tendencies too though, him insisting Raikkonen should have pitted at Nurburgring when he needed to continue hauling points back from Alonso sticks out.

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scouseknight
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by scouseknight »

Wasn't a fan of his commentary however everything else he did was top notch.
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bourbon19
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by bourbon19 »

I found JA completely off-putting.

Yellowbin74
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by Yellowbin74 »

I wasn't a fan of JA as a commentator, but his knowledge is second to none.

I don't mind Crofty at all, but Ledgard was just a joke. "front wing, rear wing - same thing"..

Brundle's dry humor is spot on for me.

I'm happy with what we've got, but Alex Jacques would be a good nod for the future.

Or even Alex Brundle.
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mikeyg123
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Re: James Allen as a commentator

Post by mikeyg123 »

I really like Jack Nicholls.

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