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Tony Blackburn back on BBC radio

Veteran DJ Tony Blackburn is to return to BBC chart countdowns - nearly three decades after leaving Radio 1's chart show, it was announced today.

The presenter is join Radio 2 to host Pick Of The Pops, replacing Dale Winton who has fronted the show since 2000.

Winton is leaving due to "other commitments", the BBC said today.

Blackburn, 67, was famously the first presenter on air when Radio 1 launched in 1967. He hosted the station's Sunday Top 40 countdown for nearly two and a half years, taking over from Simon Bates.

Pick Of The Pops - which for many years was presented by Alan "Fluff" Freeman - looks back at vintage charts each Saturday, counting down the hits in the top 20.

Most recently he presented the UK's Million Sellers Chart on Radio 2 over the August Bank Holiday weekend, and he continues to present The Best Of Soul & Motown on BBC London 94.9FM - where he has been presenting for more than 20 years - on Sundays.

Although he has had a long association with the BBC, he has not been a regular host for Radio 2. However, he has presented a pair of one-off programme about top hits of the '60s and the best-selling singles of all time this year.

He said today: "I'm delighted to be taking up the reins of one of radio's most iconic and famous shows at the UK's most listened- to radio station.

"I'm very much looking forward to indulging in two hours of fantastic, rarely heard music from across the decades each week."

Lewis Carnie, head of programmes, Radio 2, said: "I'm delighted to welcome Tony Blackburn to Radio 2 on a permanent basis. He is one of this country's legendary broadcasters and brings a wealth of knowledge of popular music spanning the years.

"I'd like to thank Dale for being such a tremendous host of Pick Of The Pops for the last decade, and I look forward to continuing our relationship with him on future Radio 2 projects."

Winton's final Pick Of The Pops will be broadcast on October 30.