In February this year the BBC announced that it had 'parted company' with DJ Tony Blackburn, in the wake of the inquiry led by Dame Janet Smith. DG Lord Hall said that Blackurn "fell shot of the standards of evidence that such an inquiry demanded". Dame Janet had 'rejected' Blackburn's claims that he had never attended any BBC interviews about the suicide of Claire McAlpine, who been a regular in the Top of The Pops audience, preferring evidence from an investigation by barrister Sir Brian Neill, conducted for the BBC.
Tony knew the sack was coming before publication, having been called in to see if 'discrepancies' could be ironed out, yet sticking to his version of events. By the 1st March, Tony was threatening to sue the BBC - but nothing came of it.
Today, we learn that Tony will be back on Radio 2 with an hour-long show at 7pm every Friday from the New Year. Here's the full press statement.
We are pleased to announce Tony Blackburn's return to the BBC in January 2017. He will present an hour-long show on BBC Radio 2 on Fridays at 7pm, and will also return to local radio.
The BBC stands by the findings of Dame Janet Smith and the decision it made to take Tony Blackburn off air at the start of this year based on Dame Janet’s Smith’s preference for the documentary evidence relating to meetings that took place over Tony Blackburn’s statements.
Tony Blackburn for his part stands by his statements to Dame Janet Smith but recognises that the BBC considered a period off air was appropriate.
Tony Blackburn says: "I do not seek to criticise the BBC for decisions it has made in the past. I have had a difficult year personally, but I'm pleased to be returning to the BBC and can't wait to get behind the mic again.”
There will be no further comment.