Tony Blackburn 'sacked' by BBC ahead of Savile sex abuse report

Tony Blackburn says the BBC are making him a "scapegoat" Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA

Tony Blackburn claims he has been sacked by the BBC over his evidence to a sex abuse review into Jimmy Savile.

The veteran DJ has strongly denied any wrongdoing and vowed to take legal action against the corporation after his "sacking" which he says has left him "devastated".

In a lengthy statement, he claimed his sacking related to allegations made by the mother of an underage girl in 1971.

According to the statement, the 15-year-old girl had claimed in a diary entry that she had been seduced by Mr Blackburn and other celebrities.

The girl later committed suicide, he said.

Mr Blackburn claimed the report - produced by Dame Janet Smith - made no suggestion of "any misconduct whatsoever with the girl", and added that he denies any wrongdoing.

DJ Tony Blackburn pictured in 1972. Credit: PA Wire

He said that he believed he had been wrongly sacked because his version of events after the allegations were passed to the BBC did not "tally" with Dame Janet's findings.

He said he felt this was the result of a "cover up" that he had no knowledge of.

Specifically he said this related to interviews the BBC claimed he had conducted with senior figures at the institution in relation to the claims. He says these did not happen in this context.

The BBC has declined to comment.

  • Tony Blackburn's statement in full

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. In 1971 allegations were made by the mother of a 15-year-old girl whose diary apparently contained suggestions that she had been seduced by celebrities including me. I am told that the mother told the BBC, a few weeks after her initial complaint, that her daughter had withdrawn the allegation against me. I have never seen the diary and neither has anyone at the BBC or the Dame Janet review. That same year this seemingly troubled teenager tragically took her own life. >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. 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 that I was. According to BBC records seen by Dame Janet, I was allegedly interviewed about the girl's' diary before her death in 1971 by a very senior figure at the BBC, Bill Cotton Jr. I was also, supposedly, interviewed by Brian Neill QC as part of his report into the Payola scandal at the BBC. I have repeatedly told Dame Janet and the BBC I was never interviewed by either man in this context and the BBC records are either very vague or have, conveniently, disappeared. Regardless of these facts, the BBC is axing me after five decades of broadcasting. Sadly what is happening to me now 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.

Tony Blackburn statement