Tony Blackburn asks for BBC apology and threatens legal action if not met

An investigation into sexual abuse at the BBC said the veteran DJ's evidence was 'inconsistent'

Will Worley
Sunday 28 February 2016 20:53
Tony Blackburn in 1967
Tony Blackburn in 1967

Former BBC Top of the Pops presenter Tony Blackburn has written to the director-general of the BBC, Tony Hall, demanding an apology over his sacking from the BBC.

Insiders say that Mr Blackburn will pursue legal action for defamation if an apology is not issued by the corporation.

In addition to an apology, Mr Blackburn is also taking legal actions because of “wrongful termination of contract,” the Telegraph reports.

Lawyers representing Mr Blackburn sent two letters to Lord Hall on Saturday, warning of two potential defamation cases being prepared in case an apology is not given.

"The letter warns that this will go all the way unless Hall apologises by end of play Monday," the Telegraph reported a source close to Mr Blackburn as saying.

Mr Blackburn was sacked by the BBC last week after his evidence to an investigation by Dame Janet Smith into sexual abuse at the BBC “fell short of the standards of evidence that such an inquiry demanded,” according to Lord Hall.

Dame Smith had said Mr Blackburn’s evidence was “inconsistent.”

The controversy surrounds allegations that Mr Blackburn "seduced" Top of the Pops audience member Claire McAlpine and inviting her back to his flat following a recording of the programme in 1971, something he strongly denies. The girl later died following an overdose.

Mr Blackburn denied in evidence to the enquiry that he had ever been made aware by the BBC of a complaint lodged against him by a teenager in 1971, even though the BBC told the inquiry he had.

The DJ maintains that he is being “scapegoated” by the BBC and has nothing to hide. He stands by the evidence he gave to the review.

There has been further controversy over the circumstances surrounding Mr Blackburn’s departure from the BBC.

Mr Blackburn has claimed that he was told if he resigned from the BBC there would be an opportunity for him to return later in the year.

Speaking to Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme he said: ”I had been asked to resign by Bob Shannon [head of Radio 2] of the BBC, but I said, well, why do I want to resign? There's no point. I love my job at the BBC, I love the BBC, why would I resign?”

"They gave me the chance to resign, saying that that way you don't actually cut off all ties from the BBC and we could probably bring you back in a few months."

While no longer at the BBC, Mr Blackburn’s broadcasting career is not over. The legal move comes soon after he thanked fans on his new Retro Countdown show on Kent-based radio KMFM.

He said: "Thank-you very much for all your support this week. Thank-you as well to KMFM. I hope you enjoy the show."

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