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Tony Blackburn sacked by BBC

ShowbizBy Sunday World
Tony Blackburn sacked by BBC

Tony Blackburn has been sacked by the BBC.

The veteran broadcaster - who was the first DJ on Radio One in 1967 - claims that he has been axed by the BBC over a report into allegations in 1971 that he seduced a 15-year-old 'Top of the Pops' dancer, who later took her own life.

A new report by Dame Janet Smith - which has yet to be published - into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse cover up reportedly contains details of the incident although it clears Tony of any wrongdoing.

Explaining the events leading to his termination in a statement, Tony said: "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 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 into her death or a subsequent police inquiry. 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 girls' 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 in to 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.

"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.

"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."