In Brief

Tony Blackburn sacked by BBC after Jimmy Savile inquiry

Veteran DJ accuses corporation of 'destroying my career and reputation' and says he has 'no choice' but to sue

160225-blackburn.jpg

Radio DJ Tony Blackburn has been sacked by the BBC ahead of the publication of Dame Janet Smith's report into the Jimmy Savile inquiry.

The move comes "amid allegations of a cover-up after he and other celebrities were accused of 'seducing' a 15-year-old Top of the Pops dancer who later killed herself", The Independent reports.

The 73-year-old presenter claims he was sacked because his evidence to Dame Janet showed "a cover-up, of which he had no knowledge, had taken place", The Guardian reports.

Blackburn says the decision to let him go had been personally taken by the BBC's director general, Tony Hall.

"Sadly what is happening to me now seems to be entirely in keeping with the past BBC culture of whitewash and cover-up," he said.

In a statement, the DJ clarified: "Dame Janet's report makes no suggestion that I was guilty 45 years ago of any misconduct whatsoever with this girl. Nor did a Coroner's inquest into her death or a subsequent police inquiry."

Blackburn added that the BBC had made clear it was not terminating his contract due to any form of misconduct.

"They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs," he said. "Naturally, I am now left with no choice but to take legal action against the BBC."

A leaked draft of Dame Janet's report criticised the BBC's "deferential culture" and "untouchable stars".

BBC media correspondent David Sillito said the essence of the inquiry was "to establish whether senior managers were aware of Savile's offending and how much was just rumour".

Former BBC presenter Savile abused hundreds of adults and children across the country from the mid-1940s until 2009. He died in 2011.

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