Blackburn is back: battle over Sir Cliff ends in victory for DJ

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The Independent Online

Tony Blackburn has been reinstated by the radio station which suspended him for playing records by Sir Cliff Richard. Classic Gold has also restored Richard to its playlist.

Tony Blackburn has been reinstated by the radio station which suspended him for playing records by Sir Cliff Richard. Classic Gold has also restored Richard to its playlist.

Blackburn was suspended on Wednesday when he tore up on air an e-mail warning him that playing Cliff Richard tracks was against company policy and played two more tracks by the veteran singer.

But Classic Gold released a statement yesterday saying it had settled its differences and Blackburn would return to his breakfast show today. It said the station had reviewed its music policy after a "staggering amount" of listener support for Richard, it said.

Paul Baker, head of programmes at the London station, said: "We have to listen to our listeners, or they won't listen to us. It's quite obvious now that they want to hear Cliff Richard on the station, so that's what we'll do."

Blackburn, 61, said he was delighted that the dispute had been settled. "I'm also pleased that we're going to be playing Cliff Richard records. It's the listeners who have come out on top," he said.

Earlier, he told Radio 4's Today programme that he was surprised to be suspended and he would rather not lose his job over the matter. I'm not a Cliff Richard stalker but I like his records," he said. "They're as good as any others we play. I just don't understand it."

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