BBC sack Tony Blackburn

All your radio discussions in here. Feel free to talk about anything you like.
Post Reply
Forum User
Forum User
Posts: 487
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 6:14 pm

BBC sack Tony Blackburn

Post by Mark » ... ex-7435747

DJ Tony Blackburn has been sacked by the BBC in a row about a sex abuse probe.

A new report backs the BBC’s claim that he was quizzed over a woman’s allegations.

But Blackburn said the interviews in 1971 never took place and he plans to sue the BBC.

He said: “They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs.”

The BBC will be accused of covering up allegations that Blackburn “seduced” a girl of 15 who went on to kill herself

Corporation bosses are alleged to have failed to properly interview the DJ after he was accused of a sexual encounter with Top of the Pops dancer Claire McAlpine.

The claims will be made public today in Dame Janet Smith's review of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

A draft version of the report leaked last month said Clair was “seduced” by a DJ referred to as A7 in 1971. Today we can name A7 as Tony Blackburn, 73.

The DJ, who hosts a popular Radio 2 Saturday show with millions of listeners, has now been sacked.

He claims it was a personal decision of director general Tony Hall and insists he is innocent.

Last night the DJ said he was “ devastated” and vowed to take legal action against his former bosses. He added: “The BBC have made me a scapegoat.”

Dame Janet’s report said Claire killed herself weeks after an alleged sexual encounter with the popular DJ.

She wrote about the incident in a diary found by her mum Vera in February 1971.

Extracts from a leaked draft of the report reveal Vera made a formal complaint to the BBC but it was brushed aside.

She called saying one of its stars had seduced her underage daughter and demanded to speak to the chairman.

Vera was told this was impossible, Just a month later, Claire died after taking an overdose of sleeping pills at home in Watford, Herts.

The report says BBC managers and police investigating the allegation paid mere lip service to it. They took the DJ’s denial at face value, despite it not matching

his agent’s account of events, along with his claim Claire lived in a “fantasy world”.

Blackburn last night issued an extraordinary statement which said: “This week, two days before the publication of the Dame Janet Smith Report, the BBC informed me that all relationships I had with them were being terminated with immediate effect.

“I am told that the decision was taken, personally, by the Director General. Quite naturally, I am devastated.

“The reasons for the BBC taking this decision are that my evidence to Dame Janet Smith shows, I believe, that a cover up took place – one that I had no knowledge of. This goes against what the BBC believe.”

He goes on: “Dame Janet’s report makes no suggestion that I was guilty 45 years ago of any misconduct whatsoever with this girl. Nor did a coroner’s inquest into her death or a subsequent police inquiry.

“The BBC have made clear that they are not terminating my relationship with them because of any misconduct.

“They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs.

“I was not guilty of any inappropriate conduct; my lawyers will take immediate action against anyone suggesting I was.”

And in a swipe at bosses, he added: “Sadly what is happening to me seems to be entirely in keeping with the past BBC culture of whitewash and cover-up.

“In 1967, I proudly opened Radio 1 for the BBC. Over the past 49 years I have enjoyed my time working for them immensely and I am grateful to my millions of listeners for their continued support over the decades.

“Sadly, despite being aware of my evidence for many months, if not years, the BBC have decided to make me a scapegoat and have taken away any future opportunity I have to broadcast for them.

“Naturally, I am now left with no choice but to take legal action against the BBC.

They have taken away a career I love and I will not allow them to destroy my reputation.”

Dame Janet’s review found no attempt was made by the BBC to interview either Claire or Mrs McAlpine.

It does decide that the broadcaster was quizzed twice by BBC executives and by an independent barrister.

Dame Janet also said it was “hard to fathom” why the BBC had lost or destroyed call logs from the time.

Last night Mr Blackburn’s wife of 24 years Debbie said the couple would not be speaking aside from the statement.

GettyBBC Radio One disc jockey Tony Blackburn outside the 'Sherlock Holmes' pub in Northumberland Street, London on 26th January 1968
She said: “We are not going to enter into any conversation of any type.”

Dame Janet’s review has taken four years and will reveal Savile abused 45 victims, including several rapes on BBC premises before his death, aged 84, in 2011.

An early draft states that a BBC DJ other than Savile was interviewed by executives and by an independent barrister in 1971 about the allegations.

It revealed the star, referred to as “A7” but now known to be Blackburn, denied wrongdoing but admitted meeting Claire.

But in 2013 when Dame Janet’s team spoke to the DJ, he denied ever having been questioned about the incident.

Dame Janet concluded: “For my part, I am satisfied that an investigation did take place, which comprised an interview with A7 at which he denied the allegation.”

Sir Brian Neill QC, the independent barrister in question, confirmed last month that he speak to “A7” in 1971.

He said: “I investigated it as far as I could. The DJ denied it all.”

Dame Janet stated: “A7 told the review no such interview had taken place. But I am satisfied Mr Neill did interview A7.”

The barrister had recorded: “Mr A7 told me that the girl had come to see him on several occasions and had invented stories for the purpose of getting access to him.

“He said she seemed to him in a sort of fantasy world but that she had not made any sexual advances of any kind.”

The report says the 1970s inquiry “appears designed to protect A7 and the BBC and to fob Mrs McAlpine off ”.

Former high court judge Dame Janet also quotes the findings of one BBC executive following Blackburn’s response to the allegations in 1971.

She said: “For my part, I must accept the situation, although I would be less than fair if I were not to record that his [A7’s] recollection of 17 February does not agree with the first thoughts of his agent.”

After last month’s leak, BBC director general Tony Hall said: “Firstly, my thoughts and all our thoughts are with the victims of Jimmy Savile and their families.

“What happened was a dark chapter in the history of the BBC. Dame Janet Smith’s report will be invaluable in helping us understand what happened and to help ensure that we do everything possible to avoid it happening again.”

Post Reply