Phil Sayer

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Philip Clift Sayer (18 May 1953 – 14 April 2016) was an English voice artist. He was one half of the Sayer Hamilton voice studio, based in Bolton, Greater Manchester, in partnership with his wife, Elinor Hamilton.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Sayer was born Philip Clift, on 18 May 1953, in Norwich, Norfolk, the son of Cyril Clift, a town planner. His parents’ marriage was unhappy, however, and his mother Hazel moved the family to Liverpool, where she remarried. He was educated at Merchant Taylors' Boys' School at Great Crosby on Merseyside, where he was a member of the successful public speaking team.[2]

From 1976 Sayer, having adopted his stepfather’s surname as a stage name,[3][4] was a newsreader on BBC North West Tonight, where he remained for ten years.[5][6] After that he was a presenter on several radio stations, including Piccadilly Radio, where he began in 1976,[7] Red Rose Radio, BBC GMR (now BBC Radio Manchester), Radio City, Jazz FM and Smooth FM.[8]

His voice is currently used at many British railway stations, including the entire South Western Railways network, almost the entire Southern network, and at a number of stations on the Northern Rail network, for the provision of announcements regarding train arrivals, departures and cancellations or delays, as well as general information for the travelling public. Sayer would probably be best remembered for his voice, on the London Underground system, warning passengers to "mind the gap" and "stand clear of the doors please". Sayer's obituary in The New York Times suggested that the "'mind the gap'... warning is one of the system's most distinctive features".[3] Rail staff referred to his voice as "Metal Mickey".[4]


On 4 April 2016 it was announced, on the Sayer Hamilton website, that due to a rapid and unexpected decline in Sayer's health, the company was temporarily closing for business and that Sayer would be retiring.[9] Sayer died of oesophageal cancer on 14 April.[3][10] Announcing his death on Facebook, his wife wrote that "We are sorry to announce that this service terminates here", echoing the wording of a train announcement. He had four children, two from his first marriage[3] and twin boys from his marriage to Hamilton.[11]


  1. ^ Lefort, Rebecca (17 January 2010). "We are sorry to announce: Britain's most apologetic couple". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Phil Sayer". 194 Radio City. Archived from the original on 29 February 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Chan, Sewell (15 April 2016). "Phil Sayer, Voice Behind 'Please Mind the Gap' on London Underground, Dies at 62". New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Phil Sayer, rail announcer – obituary". Daily Telegraph. 17 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  5. ^ Chapman, Stephen (15 April 2016). "Tributes to North West presenter and voice of The Underground Phil Sayer". Prolific North. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Where are they now – Phil Sayer". BBC North West Tonight. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Celebrating 40 years of Piccadilly Radio". Manchester Evening News. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Where are they now – Phil Sayer". BBC News. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Phil is Retiring". Sayer Hamilton. 4 April 2016.
  10. ^ "London Underground's 'mind the gap' man Phil Sayer dies". BBC News. 15 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  11. ^ Khomami, Nadia (15 April 2016). "'Mind the gap' announcer Phil Sayer dies aged 62". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2016.

External links[edit]