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London Underground's 'Mind The Gap' Man Dies

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Whether or not you actually knew Phil Sayer, chances are you've heard his voice if you've ridden a train in London in the last decade or two.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PHIL SAYER: Please mind the gap between the train and the platform.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The London Underground has many announcers, but Phil Sayer has long been one of the most ubiquitous. He passed away yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAYER: The train now approaching platform 11 B is...

SHAPIRO: Phil Sayer wasn't born speaking in those calming, clear, deep tones. First, he had to work his way through a career in news radio, as he told the Manchester Evening News in 2010.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAYER: I'd done 10 years at the BBC in Manchester, and that came to an end, and I thought, well, what do I do now? And the answer was voice-overs.

SIEGEL: Soon he could be heard from trains all over the U.K. asking riders to mind the gap, stand clear of the doors and, of course, forgive any delays.

SHAPIRO: Phil Sayer and his wife, Eleanor Hamilton - who was also a voice of the Tube - used to joke that they were the most apologetic couple in Britain.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAYER: I'm sorry to announce that the 13-24 London Midland service from this station to Ponbridge has been canceled. I'm sorry for the delay this will cause for your journey.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAYER: This is a real big problem somewhere on the network. I won't even know about it, frankly. Although I'm there saying, I'm sorry to announce that the train is delayed, well, I'm not 'cause I'm still asleep in bed.

SIEGEL: Phil Sayer was 62. His company shared news of his passing this way,

(reading) we are sorry to announce that this service terminates here. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.