August 28, 2003
Voice of UK wrestling silenced
By GREG OLIVER -- Co-Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
Also in The Wrestling, wrestler Mick McManus recalled Walton's start. "He had a very good voice that lent itself to the wrestling scene, as opposed to someone who was an Oxford type of bod that frequented the television companies in those days. But the problem was that he'd never been to a wrestling match before he got the job. So I took him down to a gym with a few others and we had to run through some holds and throws to acquaint him with what went on, what constituted a fall or a submission."
Walton was "very professional" according to Two Rivers. He grew into the role. "They let him react, but eventually he got what they call in the language, smart," Two Rivers said. On many occasions, Walton would stand up for the men he worked with when nay-sayers bad-mouthed wrestling in the pub, hotly refuting allegations that the bouts were fixed.
Some of the obituaries peg Walton as coming from Canada, while the Telegraph said that he hailed from Cairo, Egypt. Regardless of his origin, he was born Kenneth Walton Beckett in 1917. He grew up in England and went to the Embassy School of Acting in London. When World War II started, he served in the Royal Air Force as a radio operator and front-gunner.
He acted on stage, and worked as a TV sports announcer, covering soccer and tennis. Besides hosting wrestling, he did commercial voice-over work, was a radio disc jockey, and hosted two pop music shows on TV as well, Cool For Cats and Discs A-Go-Go.
Wrestling was dropped by ITV in 1988, and Walton was the regular commentator for all 33 years. He signed off each program was his catch-phrase, "Have a good week. . .till next week."
Walton is survived by his wife Lynn, 83, and one son, Lee.
Greg Oliver founded SLAM! Wrestling with John Powell way back in 1996,
and has been writing about pro wrestling since 1985. He is the author of
the recently published book The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The
Canadians from ECW Press. Order it in Canada from Chapters-Indigo
or in the U.S. from Amazon.com.
Greg can be emailed at