Saturday 24 February 2018

BBC Trust rejects complaint over Tony Blackburn sacking

DJ Tony Blackburn was sacked in the wake of the the Dame Janet Smith review
DJ Tony Blackburn was sacked in the wake of the the Dame Janet Smith review

A complaint made to the BBC about the sacking of radio DJ Tony Blackburn will not be investigated any further, the BBC Trust has said.

Blackburn, 73, who was not the complainant, was dismissed in the wake of the the Dame Janet Smith review into sexual abuse at the corporation.

He has previously said he was made a "scapegoat" by the BBC and strenuously denied he "seduced" Claire McAlpine after inviting her back to his flat following a recording of Top Of The Pops in the 1970s, and is taking legal action. The girl later killed herself.

Blackburn has also denied he was interviewed by a senior figure at the BBC and a lawyer about the suggestions in Ms McAlpine's diary that he had seduced her.

The complainant said the DJ had been sacked on insufficient grounds and expressed concern about the impact of the decision on Blackburn's finances, reputation and health.

The complaint also claimed the decision had resulted in the loss of a "competent, popular and entertaining presenter", risked creating unpopularity for the BBC and deflecting public attention from the important issues highlighted in Dame Janet's report.

The BBC replied saying the matter was potentially subject to a legal process and reiterated director-general Lord Tony Hall's previous remarks that Dame Janet had rejected Blackburn's evidence to the inquiry.

At the time, Lord Hall said he was making no accusations about past events or behaviours, but his interpretation was that Blackburn fell short of the standards of evidence that such an inquiry demanded.

The complainant appealed to the BBC Trust, saying they felt strongly about the case because it brought into focus "an increasingly cavalier attitude of management towards employees".

However, the Trust said the complaint concerned an operational, rather than editorial matter that was outside their remit.

It determined that there was "no reasonable prospect of the appeal succeeding."

The BBC Trust is due to be replaced by Ofcom as the regulator of the corporation in the new year.

Press Association

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