Photo: Kit Houghton

BBC equestrian commentator Mike Tucker has died suddenly at the age of 73.

Familiar voice

Mike joined the BBC in 1977 and took over as lead equestrian commentator in 1992. His familiar voice was heard at every major equestrian event, including six Olympic Games.

“My first Olympics for the ‘Beeb’ was Atlanta; no medals,” Mike told British Eventing Life magazine last year. “Then in Sydney it was silver. In Athens Leslie Law won individual gold, but only six days after the event following an appeal. In Hong Kong, bronze.

“Finally, in London, we had three. It was sensational. I did think momentarily that perhaps it was time to hang up my microphone after London – could it get any better than that? I’m glad I didn’t. Rio was much better than any of us had anticipated.”

Successful eventer

Mike finally retired last year after the 2017 Badminton Horse Trials – a place very close to his heart. His grandfather farmed part of the estate and his mother was born there, so his entire life has been centred around the iconic venue.

He evented himself and from Pony Club days harboured an ambition to ride at Badminton – which he went on to achieve.

“The biggest highlight as a competitor here has to be when I finished runner-up back in 1983 riding my homebred General Bugle,” said Mike. “Frustratingly, if I hadn’t gone wrong in the dressage I would have won, but then again there’s never any shame in losing to Lucinda Green.”

‘Legend of the sport’

A family statement said: “Mike has been a stalwart of the equestrian, hunting and Cotswold farming community for many years and will be very sadly missed. More than that, he was a loving and devoted family man.”

Mike commentated on a number of shows on Horse & Country over the years and Jonathan Rippon, Head of Programming, said the whole team was “shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Mike”.

“He was a legend of the sport and will be sorely missed by many,” said Jonathan. “Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

“As a tribute to his incredible work commentating for eventing, we will be showing a repeat of last year’s Badminton highlights on Horse & Country TV this Sunday at 9pm, which Mike did the commentary for.”

FEI Classics 2017: Badminton is on Sunday 1 April at 9pm on Horse & Country TV and Amazon VideoThe show will then be available to watch on Catch Up.