Barry is a legendary commentator with one of the most-recognisable voices in Britain. He has covered a wide range of sports in a long career, primarily for the BBC.
Although he is best known for his football commentary, Davies has commentated on numerous other sports, including badminton, beach volleyball, cycling, ice hockey, ice skating, tennis, gymnastics, hockey and athletics, and primarily in the BBC’s Olympics coverage, where he twice (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004) commentated on the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Games.
He was also the ‘Voice of the Boat Race’ between 1993 and 2004, until the BBC lost the rights to cover the event, and the presenter of Maestro in the 1980s, a series of interviews with retired sporting legends.
Barry Davies was educated at Cranbrook School—which also numbers commentators Brian Moore and Peter West amongst its alumni—and King’s College London, where he read Dentistry. He started his broadcasting career with British Forces Broadcasting whilst doing his National Service in the army as a second-lieutenant in West Germany. His boss at BFBS was Gerald Sinstadt, who, upon their return to England, helped Davies get into BBC Radio in 1963, working concurrently as a sports journalist for The Times.
Ahead of the 1966 World Cup he took his first steps into television with ITV. He made his debut on a Fairs Cup tie between Chelsea and Milan, before covering England’s pre-World-Cup friendly with West Germany. During the World Cup in England, Davies covered all the matches in the North East.
His spell with ITV continued for another three years, providing commentaries for ABC and Granada Television. Davies also covered the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Most of Davies’s career has been spent with the BBC after joining the Corporation in July 1969. For the next 35 years he was closely associated with the Match of the Day programme, making his debut in unusual circumstances on 9 August 1969.
As a BBC football commentator Davies covered nine World Cups (he also covered one with ITV, in 1966, making a total of ten covered) – including the 1994 final – and seven European Championships. He commentated the final of the 1972 tournament in Belgium between West Germany and the USSR, but covered only two FA Cup finals in his career – 1995 and 1996 – as John Motson regularly landed the key games.
Since 2003, Davies has voiced the various football video games produced by Codemasters: the two Club Football titles released in 2003 and 2004, England International Football (also 2004, released to tie in with that year’s Euro 2004 competition), and the LMA Manager series since LMA 2004.
In 2007, Headline press published his memoirs of 40 years in sports broadcasting, entitled ‘Interesting, Very Interesting‘ after a commentary line from a match between Derby and Manchester City in 1974.
Davies commentated on the Wimbledon championships for the BBC in 2011, including the Ladies Singles Final on the “3D” coverage, and again in 2012, where he provided the “3D” commentary on the Mens Singles Final. Also in 2012, Barry commentated on the Hockey tournament at the 2012 London Olympics, meaning that he has now commentated on 12 Summer Olympics, overtaking the record held by David Coleman for a UK sports broadcaster.