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Last Updated: Monday, 2 June, 2003, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
Robert Hudson
Robert Hudson
Robert Hudson researched his broadcasts meticulously
Robert Hudson, unsung among commentators, has nonetheless had more influence than most on commentary technique.

He has always stood as a fine example of how commentary should be done, taking as his guide the words of the great former Yorkshire bowler, Wilfred Rhodes.

"Paint a picture and keep it the right way up," Rhodes told him, by then blind and therefore dependent on radio.

The picture that Bob painted - and it covered many of the great state occasions as well as cricket and rugby - was always detailed and meticulously researched.

No commentator ever went to the microphone better prepared.

And his ideas on commentary technique were given force by his appointment to senior administrative positions within the BBC.

Happily though, he continued to commentate throughout these appointments.

His first cricket broadcast had been for television in 1947 and the following year he did the same for radio, always emphasising the total dissimilarity of the two arts.

Always the teams presented to Her Majesty - never the other way round
Robert Hudson

Hudson's voice remained youthful and the lightness of his touch belied the homework that had gone into every commentary.

After retirement from the staff, he would decline the invitation to cover a match if he had not had a chance to see the participant counties play beforehand.

Nowhere was this research more evident than in his coverage of state occasions.

At Royal weddings and funerals, Trooping the Colour, Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph and state visits, he was the supreme master of radio commentary.

With changing fashions in broadcasting, he will remain so.

His Test Match commentaries are oft recovered from the BBC Archives by reporters and producers who have never heard his name.

In Test Match Special he was invariably the one pushed forward to describe the Queen visiting a Test Match at Lord's.

"Always the teams presented to Her Majesty," he would say: "Never the other way round."

All of which begs the question: why is he so unsung a hero?

His nature was to be understated and self-effacing.

A determined and positive character, he would shy away from the limelight, preferring the anonymity that radio can allow.

Few fully comprehend the important role he has played in the evolution of broadcasting.



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