Radio Sandwell News

Tony Blackburn 'sacked' by BBC over Savile inquiry

2016-02-25 11:47:43

Tony BlackburnTony Blackburn claims he was sacked over Savile inquiry

DJ Tony Blackburn says he has been sacked by the BBC after the evidence he gave to an inquiry into Jimmy Savile contradicted the corporation's.

He says the Dame Janet Smith report, due later, includes a claim he was among a number of celebrities who seduced a 15-year-old girl.

The Radio 2 DJ says he was cleared of any wrongdoing and was never interviewed over the incident, but he claims the BBC says he was questioned.

The BBC has yet to comment.

He says the claim made in 1971 was quickly withdrawn.

The girl at the centre of the allegation took her own life later that year.

The DJ says he was informed two days ago by the BBC that "all relationships I had with them were being terminated with immediate effect".

'BBC records'

His Saturday afternoon show on BBC Radio 2 is still listed on the station's website and his Friday morning show on BBC Radio Berkshire is also on its online schedule.

Who is Tony Blackburn?

Tony Blackburn

The son of a doctor from Guildford, Tony Blackburn was the first DJ to broadcast on Radio 1 when it launched in September 1967. He spent 17 years at the station and also presented Top of the Pops and Noel's House Party. Prior to that, he had broadcast on Radio Caroline South and then Radio London.

After Radio 1, he was one of the launch presenters on Capital Gold. He has also hosted Radio 2's Pick Of The Pops and had shows on BBC London 94.9, BBC Radio Berkshire, the Magic network, BBC3CR and KMFM.

In 2002 he won the ITV reality TV programme I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!

Mr Blackburn said Dame Janet's report into Savile and the BBC makes no suggestion he was guilty of misconduct with the girl, nor did a coroner's inquest or a subsequent police inquiry.

The impartial investigation by Dame Janet, a former High Court judge, was set up by the BBC in 2012 to look at the corporation's culture and practices during the years it employed DJ and TV star Jimmy Savile - thought to be from 1964 to 2007.

Tony Blackburn says during her review Dame Janet saw BBC records allegedly showing he was interviewed about the girl's diary by a senior BBC executive, Bill Cotton, and by a senior lawyer.

The DJ says he repeatedly told the review that he was never interviewed by either man.

He said in a statement: "They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs.

"Sadly what is happening to me now seems entirely in keeping with the past BBC culture of whitewash and cover-up."

Who was Jimmy Savile?

Jimmy Savile

In his lifetime, millions knew Jimmy Savile as an eccentric TV personality.

He was one of Britain's biggest stars, a larger-than-life character who was known for tea-time TV favourites such as Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It, as well as stints on BBC Radio 1.

He was also, to some, Saint Jimmy, a diligent fundraiser who raised £40m for charity.

But, a year after his death in 2011, allegations of abuse surfaced.

It transpired that he was, in fact, one of the UK's most prolific sexual predators.

He had been exploiting his status to prey on hundreds of people - girls and boys, men and women, but mostly vulnerable young females.

Dame Janet's investigation into dozens of sexual assaults by Savile heard evidence from more than 700 people.

They included two BBC managers who confronted Savile over claims he took teenagers home from Top of the Pops.

A draft of the report leaked last month criticised the BBC's "deferential culture" and "untouchable stars".

BBC media correspondent David Sillito said the essence of the inquiry was to establish whether senior managers were aware of his offending and how much was just rumour.

A statement from Tony Hall, director general of the BBC, is expected after the report is published on Thursday morning.

Former BBC presenter Savile exploited his celebrity status to abuse hundreds of adults and children across the country, assaulting or raping them in television dressing rooms, hospitals, schools, children's homes and his caravan.

The abuse is thought to have begun in the mid-1940s, when he was in his late teens or early 20s, and lasted until 2009.


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