Phil Sayer, the Mind the Gap man

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | April 21, 2016 0

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The man who has famously warned commuters to ‘Mind the Gap’ on the London Underground has died at the age of 62. Former BBC presenter Phil Sayer, whose voice was heard on many of the automated PA systems on railway stations across the UK, died of cancer on Thursday, it was announced today.

The regional TV newsreader also presented a daily show on BBC GMR – now Radio Manchester – in the 1980s. He later set up a voice-over artist company with his wife, Elinor Hamilton.

In 2007, Sayer told the BBC: “These days, most of my work is as a voiceover artist, though I still present live shows and conferences for corporate clients from time to time. It’s my voice on most of the automated PA systems on railway stations across the UK. As a result, I’m heard saying ‘Sorry…’ quite a lot. Phil Sayer was not the only “Mind the Gap” announcer on the Underground but was the most well known in tandem with his other railway announcement work.

Writing on their Facebook page, Ms Hamilton said: “Phil Sayer – voice of reason, radio, and railways. A dearly loved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. We are sorry to announce that this service terminates here.”

The mind the gap announcement was introduced in 1968 after it became impractical for drivers and station attendants to warn passengers. The warning was also painted on the edge of the platforms. “”Mind the Gap”, perhaps the most famous phrase associated with the London Underground, must surely have the creators of the system spinning in their graves. It’s an acknowledgement that the thing doesn’t quite work. That however fast and frequent the service, however comprehensive the network, the trains don’t always fit the platforms. There’s not much in it – but enough to warrant painted signs and recorded warnings.

Phil Sayer, Broadcaster and Voice Artist,  18.05.1953 – 14.04.16

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