Tony Blackburn to return to the BBC

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Tony Blackburn is to return to the BBC in January, almost a year after parting company with the corporation.

He will present an hour-long programme on Radio 2 on Friday evenings, the BBC confirmed.

The broadcaster, who is 73 years old, was taken off air in February.

Director general Tony Hall said at the time Blackburn had failed to fully co-operate with the Jimmy Savile inquiry.

In a statement, Blackburn said: “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.”

A spokesperson for the BBC 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 preference for the documentary evidence relating to meetings that took place over Tony Blackburn’s statements.”

Who is Tony Blackburn?

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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 was a weekly fixture on Noel’s House Party. Prior to all 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 as well as regular bank holiday specials for the stations. He has also 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!

Blackburn’s new Radio 2 programme will replace the show currently hosted Desmond Carrington, who announced last month he was retiring after 70 years in broadcasting.

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Dame Janet Smith’s inquiry had rejected the evidence from the Radio 2 DJ.

Blackburn, who had threatened to sue the BBC, said the report included an accusation he was among celebrities who “seduced” a 15-year-old girl.

In a statement, he denied the allegation and said he was cleared of wrongdoing.

He accused the BBC of making him a “scapegoat” for its own “cover-up” of abuse.

After the news of his return to Radio 2 was confirmed on Wednesday morning, Blackburn tweeted: “Thank you for all your lovely messages.”

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