Radio DJ Danny Baker slams BBC over treatment of Tony Blackburn ahead of I’m A Celebrity appearance

The I'm a Celeb newbie called the BBC "cowardly" for taking Blackburn off air in February following the conclusion of a report into the Jimmy Savile scandal

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Danny Baker – radio and TV presenter who will enter the I’m A Celebrity Jungle this Thursday – has criticised the BBC for their handling of fellow radio presenter Tony Blackburn.

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59-year-old Baker said the BBC were “cowardly” for previously taking DJ Tony Blackburn off air following criticism of him in Dame Janet Smith’s report into the Jimmy Savile scandal. It’s since been confirmed that the Radio 2 broadcaster will return to the station in January 2017.

“I thought it was revolting,” Baker said, according to the Sun. “I thought it was a load of cowardly management trying to say, ‘Yeah, we can do the right thing.’ But they did the wrong thing. He was a scapegoat.”

The BBC confirmed last month that Blackburn would be returning to BBC Radio 2 on Friday evenings at 7pm, but that it stood by the decision to take him off air.

“We are pleased to announce Tony Blackburn’s return to the BBC in January 2017,” BBC said in a statement. “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 said at the time, “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.”

Danny Baker also revealed he was planning to retire from TV and radio next year after 41 years on the airwaves.

“It’s just I don’t want to do any more telly or radio or anything else after June when I’m 60,” he said. “I’m going to go to the Florida Keys and continue writing.”

However, before Baker heads to the US, he will join this year’s campmates on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! Incidentally, Blackburn himself was crowned King of the Jungle during the first series of I’m a Celeb in 2002.

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I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here continues tonight at 9pm on ITV, when Joel will do the “ascent” challenge

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