BBC suspends disc jockey in cocaine row

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The Independent Online
THE RADIO 2 disc jockey Johnnie Walker was suspended by the BBC yesterday amid allegations that he took cocaine and procured prostitutes.

In a statement the BBC said Mr Walker, 55, "had been suspended from his Radio 2 show pending a full investigation to be led by Jenny Abramsky, the BBC's director of radio". The allegations appeared in the News of World, which said it had a dossier of evidence, including video footage of his drug-taking.

Last October Richard Bacon was sacked from his job as a presenter of Blue Peter on BBC1 after revelations in the same Sunday tabloid that he had taken cocaine in a London nightclub. Mr Bacon immediately apologised to Blue Peter viewers, saying: "I have learnt my lesson the hard way. I hope it serves as a lesson to lots of other young people."

Mr Walker has not released a statement. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said of the allegations: "If anything of this sort is brought to our attention we will investigate accordingly. We will look at the evidence if it's appropriate."

In yesterday's reports it was claimed that Mr Walker took cocaine in a London hotel and volunteered to arrange prostitutes at pounds 200 a time for the undercover reporters.

Mr Walker, christened Peter Dingley, made his name on the pirate radio station Radio Caroline, before working for Radio 1 for seven years. He resigned in 1976 to work in the United States after attacking the BBC's play-list policy.

He returned to BBC national radio last year and until yesterday was presenting Radio 2's weekday drive-time show and a Saturday programme.

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