A former BBC radio presenter, best known for providing the famous public service announcements on London Underground, died of cancer, aged 62, on Thursday, 14 April. Phil Sayer, whose career also saw him regularly voice on BBC Radio Manchester (formerly BBC GMR) in the 1980s, also read out regional news on local TV. He had been battling oesophageal cancer since 2014.
His famous words provided the soundtrack for the daily commute of millions of Londoners, from warnings when boarding trains to thousands of announcements for cancelled trains and delayed services. He was best known, world over, for the phrases "Mind the gap" and "Stand clear of the closing doors" across London's Tube network.
His voiceover was introduced to the network in 1968, after it had become impractical for drivers and attendants to continually warn passengers themselves. His voice was also used on Northern Rail, South West and South Eastern mainline rail services, according to a report by the BBC.
At one point, Sayer also provided his dulcet tones for service announcements at Birmingham's New Street station.
His wife, Elinor Hamilton, posted a tribute on Facebook, to the announcer and voice artist on Friday 15 April, saying: "Phil Sayer – voice of reason, radio and railways. A dearly loved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. We are sorry to announce that the service terminates here."
Sayer and his wife both started up a voiceover company, Sayer Hamilton, in Bolton, Greater Manchester. 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."
According to The Daily Mirror, Sayer once said that he apologised more than anyone in the country, stating: "I do say sorry rather a lot. But what can I say. I'm sorry but someone has to do it!"