He was the voice of rugby for so many years, and a truly well respected voice at that. He will always be fixed in my memories of watching the 4 home nations (and later the 5 nations) matches on flickering black and white telly when I was a lad. He brought me much pleasure and, I'm sure, contributed to my lifelong love of the game.
As has been said previously, the voice of rugby when I was growing up.
He'd have me in stitches just saying the name, "Doddy Weir".
A true gent who will be sadly missed in the rugby & greater sporting world.
I was at the last match he commentated on (Wales v Scotland in Cardiff) he walked round the ground (as I believe he always did before a match) and the whole stadium stood and applauded as he passed....very emotional start to a match and the best demonstration of the respect people had for him.
RIP Bill hope the Stadium in the sky has a comfy seat set aside for you.
As a grandstand-watcher as a youngster we had Eddie Waring for months, who was your 'chattering class' with nothing to say to make the events on the pitch interesting.
By contrast, for the duration of the (then) 5 nations, MacLaren's knowledge and enthusiasm drew you into the action. His commentary was right up with the game, too - not just what happened 5 seconds ago and idle speculation that passes for commentary nowadays.
ISTR his voice changed somewhat after an infection, very distinctive. Hope the BBC do him justice at the weekend, but it will probably be endless darts.
There are so many truly memorable moments as many above have said. One that still sticks out in my mind was when the BBC as part of the Sports Personality of the Year, swapped the commentators around. Bill MacLaren had a snooker match and was just brilliant with lots of "like a demented ferret..."etc. It had me in stiches.
Rugby moments include Phil Bennet's try against Scotland in 1977, Jim Calder's try against Wales in Cardiff in 1982, Serge Blanco's try in injury time against Australia in the '87 World Cup Semi final and David Campese's try against the Barbarians in '88. And of course many, many more. The world is a duller place without him and I know they will be raising a glass in Mansfield Park (home of Hawick RFC) as well as rugby clubs the world over.
RIP. Thoughts are with his family.
I know he was ill for some time and was a true gentleman and one of the finest broadcasters, a true professional and totally unbiased.
He will be missed down atMansfield Park the Greenyards and beyond.