Max Robertson

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William Maxwell Robertson (28 August 1915 – 20 November 2009) was a sports commentator, radio and television presenter and author. He is best remembered for his forty years of tennis coverage on BBC Radio.


Robertson was born in Dacca, Bengal to British parents. The family moved back to England when he was seven years old, he then attended Haileybury, the independent school. In 1935 he left Clare College, Cambridge, for an expedition to Papua New Guinea. Afterwards he spent a few years in Sydney, where he worked as a schoolmaster. In 1937 Robertson gained his first job in broadcasting with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The first main tennis event he covered was the final of the Australian Open between Vivian McGrath and Jack Bromwich.

Robertson returned to England in 1939 and spent the war years in the army. He joined the BBC in 1946, covering not only tennis but also athletics, swimming, skiing and even sports he had no genuine interest in, like motor racing.

His style of commentary was much livelier than what BBC listeners were used to in the pre-war years. It gained him enough popularity for BBC staff to give him other assignments. In 1953 Robertson became the first regular host of the television series Panorama, which was not originally the heavyweight current affairs programme it became. He was also a commentator at major news events like the funeral of King George VI in 1952 and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II a year later. From 1965...
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