The fall of Tony Blackburn

Whilst all around me were haters, I continued to love Tony Blackburn. I first listened to him broadcasting on the pirate station Big L, then completely accepted him for breakfast on Radio 1. And my real love affair was when he was the mid-morning man on BBC Radio London playing soul music and flirting with callers about his ‘12 inchers’.

OK, under recent circumstances that ‘12 incher’ business might not be the best memory. But, I think he was at his most creative, and BBC Radio London was at its most listenable during that era, mainly because of him.

I don’t / didn’t really listen to latter day shows where he played oldies (I hate oldies), but I still loved his style. He is the ultimate radio disc jockey, truly weaving in and out of the songs, jingles and trailers joining them into one magnificent masterpiece of a wall of sound we used to call ‘radio’.

tonykmfmTony Blackburn is my favourite radio personality ever.

So, now you know where I am coming from.

And you also know his recent fate. A fate which caused a massive outpouring of anti-BBC pro-Tone sentiment across social media and petitions and complaints demanding his reinstatement and tears and anger.

Sadly, it also became quite sickening watching no marks jumping on the Tony Blackburn bandwagon in order to publicise their otherwise pointless web streams. You know the types, unable to get any listeners from their own pathetic programming, jumping into any Facebook group, butting in and talking across conversations about Tony Blackburn’s predicament with how they would be broadcasting all about him. Yeah, right.

Anyway, this is the point at which my last anorak credentials are about to be erased forever. Instead of thrusting myself onto the floor in worshipful adulation, I have questions.

You see, there are bits of the Tony Blackburn story that don’t quite make sense. Yet.

Let me get this right. A 15 year old Top of the Pops dancer’s mother contacted the BBC in 1971 to complain that her daughter had been ‘seduced’ by Tone and others, according to racy accounts in her diary.

Whether or not our Tone did the deed is not important. He says he didn’t, why shouldn’t we believe him? But, the deed itself is unimportant compared to the points being disputed.

You see, where it gets important is that Mr Blackburn insists that he was never actually questioned (by the BBC) about this at the time.

However, a memo and paperwork says he was questioned.

He says he wasn’t.

He persisted with his story that he was never questioned.

So, what’s the truth?

You see, whilst he probably wasn’t expecting to be fired, even though he had booked cover for his two BBC Local Radio shows to coincide with the publication of Dame Janet Smith’s inquiry (why would he do that?), what was he hoping to gain by lying about being questioned?

An easier life would have been had by saying that he only had vague memories of the questioning, he’d told them nothing happened, and then emphasise that the girl had withdrawn her accusation, and so there was never any police investigation against him. Dame Smith would have then shuffled on to the next evidence giver in the inquiry.

Instead, our Tone maintained his position. He had never been asked, questioned or interviewed about the girl.

Yet the limited paperwork said he had.

Again I ask what would he hope to gain by lying?

So, if he’s not lying and he’s telling the truth about never being questioned, what does that mean? Well, it means the memo and paperwork relating to interviewing him was completely made up by the BBC.

That’s serious. Very serious. And it means that back in the 1970s they invented paper trails to cover themselves rather than actually approach their ‘talent’ to investigate accusations against them. Is this what happened? Did the BBC lie and create paperwork to pretend they questioned Tony Blackburn?

Sadly those who supposedly questioned him are now all dead and unavailable to add anything to legitimise (or otherwise) the paperwork.

So, either the 1970s BBC or the 2010s Mr Blackburn is lying. Again I ask why Tony would lie so blatantly?

I guess he could be ‘in denial’ or something, but there is something to all this that just doesn’t quite make sense. Like, for example, why Tony felt the need to issue a super-injunction on this subject.

I wait in my puzzlement, hoping that it will all suddenly make sense and sort itself, but knowing that it’s going to get a lot worse for Tony Blackburn and his unquestioning supporters.