41 Facts About Tony Blackburn


Anthony Kenneth Blackburn was born on 29 January 1943 and is an English disc jockey, singer and TV presenter.

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Tony Blackburn first achieved fame broadcasting on the pirate stations Radio Caroline and Radio London in the 1960s, before joining the BBC, on the BBC Light Programme.

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Tony Blackburn was the first disc jockey to broadcast on BBC Radio 1 at its launch, on 30 September 1967, and has had several stints working for the corporation.

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Tony Blackburn has worked for Capital London and Classic Gold Digital, and currently BBC Radio 2, BBC Local Radio, and British Forces Broadcasting Service.

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In 2002 Tony Blackburn was the first winner of the British reality TV series I'm a Celebrity.

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Tony Blackburn was born in Guildford, Surrey, on 29 January 1943, but in 1946 his family moved to Bournemouth, then in Hampshire, where his youngest sister, Jacqueline, was born.

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Tony Blackburn's sister was born suffering from polio and was unable to walk since birth.

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Tony Blackburn's father, Kenneth Fleming Tony Blackburn, was a GP and his mother, Pauline Cubitt, was a nurse.

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Tony Blackburn was educated at Castle Court School in Parkstone, Poole, Dorset.

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Tony Blackburn gained entry to Millfield in Somerset on a sports scholarship and captained the school's cricket team.

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Tony Blackburn left before taking any examinations, but gained O-levels following private tuition, and enrolled for an HND course in Business Studies at Bournemouth Technical College.

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Tony Blackburn was a regular host of Top of the Pops for a decade until 1979 and he appeared with fellow DJ's Noel Edmonds and Kenny Everett on the 500th anniversary show where he performed the spoken part of "Won't Somebody Dance with Me" and then danced with singer Lynsey de Paul.

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In 1968, he fronted his own show, Time For Tony Blackburn, produced by Southern Television for the ITV network.

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Tony Blackburn was admonished by management and taken off-air for two weeks.

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Tony Blackburn was in a group called Tony Blackburn and the Rovers which at one point included Al Stewart; they performed in Bournemouth and the surrounding areas.

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Tony Blackburn's singing career failed to take off, although three studio albums and fourteen singles were released, of which two, "So Much Love" and "It's Only Love", made the UK Top 40 in 1968 and 1969 respectively.

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Tony Blackburn was allegedly furious when Noel Edmonds revealed the alias on air.

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Over several years of the 1970s, Tony Blackburn was a co-presenter on the BBC's summer programme Seaside Special, alongside other well-known names from BBC Radio, such as Dave Lee Travis and David Hamilton.

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Tony Blackburn joined Capital London in 1988, and was involved in beginning their Capital Gold London station, presenting programmes such as the Breakfast show, Weekends, Drivetime then the Weekday evening show playing his own choice of music, where he remained until 2002.

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Tony Blackburn hosted similar shows on Jazz FM in Manchester and its successor Smooth, and the Real Radio Network.

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In 1987, Tony Blackburn made an extended appearance on the second ever edition of After Dark on Channel 4.

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In 1989 Tony Blackburn co-presented the morning TV show Sky by Day on Sky One.

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Tony Blackburn was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1992, when he was surprised by Michael Aspel while broadcasting his Capital Gold radio show at the company's studios in London.

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In 2002, Tony Blackburn was the winner of the first series of the British reality TV show I'm a Celebrity.

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In 2004, Tony Blackburn re-joined BBC Radio London, originally taking over a two-hour timeslot on Monday evening from 20:00 to 22:00.

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Tony Blackburn began presenting the Breakfast show for Bedfordshire-based Classic Gold Digital in late 2003.

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Tony Blackburn was suspended in June 2004 for playing too many Cliff Richard records as the singer was not on the station's playlist.

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Tony Blackburn won his dispute with management over the playlist a few days later, and Cliff Richard was added to it.

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In early 2008, Tony Blackburn took over Weekend Breakfast on Smooth Radio, originally broadcasting to London audiences only, but a couple of months later the show was networked across the Smooth Radio network.

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On 6 November 2010, Tony Blackburn replaced Dale Winton as the regular host of BBC Radio 2's Pick of the Pops programme.

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Tony Blackburn presented the show every Saturday from 13:00 to 15:00.

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Tony Blackburn presented shows on BBC Radio Berkshire from 22:00 to 01:00 on Fridays and Sundays, and BBC London 94.

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Between 2 July 2016 and June 2017, Tony Blackburn presented a weekly four-hour soul music show, the Soul and Motown Show, every Saturday from 18:00 to 22:00 on London's DAB station Thames Radio.

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Tony Blackburn has won two lifetime achievement awards from the Radio Academy, the second of which was to mark his fifty years of broadcasting.

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Tony Blackburn said he repeatedly told Smith and the BBC that he had never been interviewed about an alleged incident in the 1970s and that Smith's report made no suggestion that he was guilty of any misconduct whatsoever.

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Cotton's colleague, Tony Blackburn Preston, had written a memo at the time concerning the interviews.

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Tony Blackburn complained that the BBC was dismissing him and damaging his career based on the discrepancy.

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Tony Blackburn said that like Smith's report, a coroner's inquest and a police inquiry had made no suggestion that he was guilty of any misconduct, adding that the report was a "whitewash" and that he had been "scapegoated" for giving his best recollections of events 45 years before.

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Tony Blackburn returned to BBC Radio 2 on New Year's Eve 2016, and to BBC Local Radio on both New Year's Day and 6 January 2017, opening with Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive".

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On 30 September 2017, Tony Blackburn recreated his first Radio 1 breakfast show on BBC Radio 2, playing the songs from vinyl, and he later joined Nick Grimshaw, and guests Mike Read, Simon Mayo and Sara Cox for a special show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launches of Radio 1 and Radio 2.

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In 2020, Blackburn teamed up with Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson to present a new series of podcasts entitled Ricky and Tony's Pop Detectives.

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