Business News Media

Tony Blackburn to return to BBC Radio

By | Published on Thursday 20 October 2016

Tony Blackburn

Tony Blackburn will return to BBC Radio 2 in January with an hour-long show at 7pm on Fridays.

As previously reported, Blackburn was sacked by the Corporation in February in relation to the evidence the presenter gave to the organisation’s Jimmy Savile review. Judge Janet Smith was hired to review the extent to which Savile committed sexual assaults and abuse on BBC premises during his long career with the broadcaster, and to assess how that was allowed to happen.

Blackburn claimed that he had been axed simply because he disagreed with the Beeb’s official line on two incidents from the 1970s, in particular how it dealt with allegations that he had abused a teenage girl who subsequently took her own life. The DJ said that, although the allegations against him were seemingly retracted, Corporation records say he was nevertheless questioned about them at the time by then BBC exec Bill Cotton Jr. But Blackburn denies any such meeting took place.

In a statement yesterday, Beeb bosses said: “The BBC stands by the findings of Dame Janet Smith and the decision it made to take Tony Blackburn off air at the start of this year based on Dame Janet’s Smith’s preference for the documentary evidence relating to meetings that took place over Tony Blackburn’s statements. Tony Blackburn for his part stands by his statements to Dame Janet Smith but recognises that the BBC considered a period off air was appropriate”.

Blackburn added: “I do not seek to criticise the BBC for decisions it has made in the past. I have had a difficult year personally, but I’m pleased to be returning to the BBC and can’t wait to get behind the mic again”.

After his sacking, Blackburn was replaced on ‘Pick Of The Pops’ by Paul Gambaccini. Meanwhile Blackburn himself, who has generally worked for multiple stations in recent years, got a new show on digital station Thames Radio.