BBC ‘sack’ Tony Blackburn over Jimmy Savile inquiry

The veteran radio DJ claims he has been made a "scapegoat" by the BBC after the corporation disagreed with evidence he had given into sexual abuse

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Radio DJ Tony Blackburn claims he has been sacked by the BBC following a disagreement over evidence given to a Jimmy Savile inquiry.

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The 73-year-old Radio 2 presenter said that Director General Tony Hall took the personal decision to terminate his contract, after the BBC disagreed with evidence he gave to an investigation into sexual abuse at the corporation.

Blackburn added that he believed his evidence revealed a “cover up” at the BBC, a claim that “goes against what the BBC believe.” He added that he had been “left with no choice but to take legal action against the BBC.”

The BBC said that it would not be commenting on Blackburn’s statement or his alleged sacking.

An investigation into sexual assault by Savile led by Dame Janet Smith was set up in 2012 in order to examine the BBC’s culture and practices during Savile’s time with the corporation.

Dame Janet’s investigation heard evidence from over 700 people, and the final report is due to be published this morning.

In his statement released ahead of the report’s publication, Blackburn referred to an allegation made in 1971 by the mother of a 15-year-old girl who had claimed she had been “seduced” by a number of celebrities, including Blackburn himself. The girl later took her own life.

“I am told that the mother told the BBC, a few weeks after her initial complaint, that her daughter had withdrawn the allegation against me,” Blackburn said, adding that he “was not guilty of any inappropriate conduct.”

His ‘sacking’, Blackburn insisted, did not have anything to do with this allegation.

“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 or a subsequent police inquiry into her death,” he said. “The BBC have made clear that they are not terminating my relationships with them because of any misconduct. They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs.” 

The Radio 2 presenter claimed he was informed two days ago by the BBC that “all relationships I had with them were being terminated with immediate effect.” He said he believed he was being made a “scapegoat” by the corporation.

“Sadly what is happening to me now seems to be entirely in keeping with the past BBC culture of whitewash and cover-up,” he said.

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Director General Tony Hall is expected to give a statement this morning following the publication of the Dam Janet Smith report.