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  Tony Blackburn 











 Tony in 1968



Tony With Roger Daltry 1968



1968 Tony Annual!



Seated in a Radio 1 continuity studio, 1970.



Chatting with Gerald the pixie and Arnold the dog, breakfast show characters devised by Tony. In 1970 the two creatures received around 1,000 letters every week.



Tony with first wife

Tessa Wyatt January 1972




At a Roadshow 1976








Tony at a nursery school during a

'Radio 1 weeks out' broadcast in 1978



Born in Surrey 1943, Tony  Blackburn's family moved to Dorset in 1948. Educated at a public school, Tony went on to study at Bournemouth College, receiving a Business Diploma. From an early age his ambition was to be a singer and disc jockey. 


Whilst in Bournemouth, he was a resident singer for evening shows at the Pavilion, later singing with the Johnnie Howard Band.




He successfully auditioned for Radio Caroline South in 1964, however the different presentation style where his happy, teenage personality was projected to the listener was not initially welcomed by the station manager, although listeners approved. In 1965, he declined a job offer with Radio London who wanted him to change his name to 'Mark Roman !'.  


He released 3 records with Fontana records in 1965/66. He has written 200 songs, but only had one published. In 1966, he resigned from Caroline due ill health, but shortly after commenced with Radio London, presenting the breakfast show under his own name.




Tony recalls...."when I was at Radio Caroline I met Harold Davison who became my manager. He said there was a new station called Radio 1 and they were interested that I work for them. He said you come with my agency and I'll make you the top DJ in three months. I thought about it for about two seconds and he did it in two months. I got the job and went to Broadcasting House. I remember a lovely guy called Mark White was the executive producer. They sort of auditioned me first on the Light Programme on a lunchtime 3/4 hour show taking over from Judith Chalmers and Paddy Feaney. It was the flower power era and when we opened up Radio 1 it was very strange because all the BBC producers and staff were in flowery gear power while we from the Pirate ships were in suits!"


Tony began work with the BBC Light Programme in August 1967, presenting 'Midday Spin' (see clips below). Tony knew this was an audition for the yet to be launched Radio 1. When Radio 1 started the next month, Tony was the first Disc Jockey on the new station. He was helped by Arnold the dog, who he found on a BBC sound effects tape. He has additionally been heard on RTL Radio Luxembourg.


The Breakfast Show included a 'School Salute', from 1969, a feature where if your school was mentioned you won Radio 1 goodies.


He released 'So much Love' early 1968 and an album, 'Tony Blackburn Sings'. He also had his own television show in that year, 'Time for Blackburn' which was seen across the UK.


Tony moved from Breakfast to weekday mid-mornings from June 1973, where he featured 'The Golden Hour'. This feature was later carried by Simon Bates. 


Moving again in Autumn 1977 to weekday afternoons for two years, it was during this period Tony went through a divorce from his actress wife Tessa Wyatt (later of Thames comedy series Robin's Nest). He found the emotional loss hard to handle and was prescribed medication in order to help. He made the public aware of his broken heart and repeatedly dedicated weepies such as If You Leave Me Now by Chicago to Tessa on his Radio 1 afternoon show.   On his last daily Radio 1 show in August 1980 Tony thanked Phil Swern (ex producer of A & M records) for 'help through the toughest times'.


Tony pictured with former Radio 1 presenters

Maggie Philbin and Keith Chegwin

(1983 publicity shot)


'Junior Choice' followed from 1980, featuring songs for younger children, and the UK Sunday Top 40 chart countdown for 2   years. He remained with Radio One until 1984, moving to BBC Radio London, where he introduced the first (legal) soul music radio show in the UK.  Here he hosted a morning show mixing music with listener phone-ins. The shows are remembered for Tony's use of light-hearted innuendo and banter with female callers.


Tony's musical passion is soul music, and he is famous for his light humoured 'corny' jokes and upbeat presentation.


Tony is married to Debbie and they have a young daughter, Victoria.




In September 2002, Tony took part and won the British Television series 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here'. Four male

From  Daily Mail Front Page 09.09.02.

and four female media personalities were placed in a rainforest in North Queensland,  Australia and were set daily 'bushwacker trials' to win food. Tony had to walk along a large 'spiders web' and endure a shower of maggots! He also collected many logs for the fire. Tony was voted the winner by viewers and, along with the other contestants, raised  thousands of Pounds for his chosen charity.

NEW King of Jungle Celebrity Mix MP3 3.mins

(Mix by Danny Pike of Southern FM)


1988 - 2002 CAPITAL

From 1988 to 2002 Tony could be heard around the UK on local 'Capital Gold' stations in the drive-time slot, Monday to Friday. 


2002 - 2006 REAL RADIO

Tony left Capital Gold at the end of 2002 after 15 years to present the 'Real Party Night' on Real Radio (South Wales, Central Scotland & Yorkshire) consisting of 80's soul music. The show was broadcast 6pm-10pm every Saturday until 2006.



On Classic Gold Digital, the Saturday morning 'Triple Decade Chart Show', featuring chart music from the 60's, 70's and 80's in a 10am-2pm slot.  and on Classic Gold Northamptonshire, Tony Blackburn's Real Party Night; 6 hours of great party music 6pm-12am. 


2003 -2004 JAZZ FM

For 12 months from March 2003 Tony presented a weeknightly programme on the London & Northwest JazzFM 'Real Soul' show featured the best of classic and contemporary soul, jazz and R & B. 10pm - 12am slot.



The Weekday Sensational Breakfast show for Classic Gold Digital from 6am - 9am Monday 31st March 2003 with ex-Hereward FM & Evening Telegraph columnist Laura Pittson. until 3rd August 2007.



Tony came back to BBC Radio London in March 2004 to present a regular Monday night and Saturday lunchtime Soul Show. The broadcast marked a return for Tony to the BBC after an absence of 16 years.  (Please find audio clips of his first show at the base of this page).



  • Tony's Radio London 94.9 Monday night soul show was short lived, however he is still heard once a week, Saturday lunchtimes at the station.

  • 3rd August 2007 was Tony Blackburn s last breakfast show on Classic Gold.

  • From 5th August 2007 he presents a Sunday afternoon show for West Kent station KMFM.




Tony Blackburn took over from Dale Winton to present a weekly Saturday edition of Pick of the Pops with two singles charts from a previous year re-played.


Tony's show coincided with the inclusion of 1960's Radio 1 jingles - some re-sung to include the 'Radio 2' station ident.  "Music hour by hour - too much on your tower - (its great) -  music hour by hour - up-to-date - music hour by hour - wonderful BBC." During the show Tony read out messages sent in by listeners.



Tony Blackburn was sacked on 24th February 2016 after 49 years with the station by the Director General of the BBC in a row about a sex abuse probe. Tony said he planned to sue the broadcaster. Dame Janet Smith's sex abuse probe took four years to compile and concluded that Jimmy Savile abused 45 victims, including several rapes on BBC premises.

The BBC claimed that they questioned Tony Blackburn in 1971 over allegations made by a 15-year-old Claire McAlpine. Tony said the interviews never happened and he planned to sue the BBC. Claire died after taking an overdose of sleeping pills in 1971. After his dismissal Tony said: "They are destroying my career and reputation because my version of events does not tally with theirs." "Dame Janets report makes no suggestion that I was guilty 45 years ago of any misconduct whatsoever with this girl. Nor did a coroners inquest into her death or a subsequent police inquiry."
(From the Daily Mirror)

"Good Lord, I'm back"


The BBC announced during October 2016 that Tony was to be re-instated at the BBC. So Tony was heard once again on Radio 2, presenting a special New Year?s Eve soul music show. Tony announced on-air; "It's New Year's Eve, it's BBC Radio 2 and what do you know? Good Lord, I'm back." Tony joked that he had been out for a long walk before playing "I will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. Since January 2017 he has fronted a Radio 2 hour-long pop music show every Friday evening, in the slot formerly occupied by the late Desmond Carrington. On 30th September 2017 Tony remade the 90 minute Radio 1 launch day breakfast show, which was heard from 7AM on both Radio 1 and Radio 2 to help celebrate the 50th birthday of the networks.


See also Launch Day page




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Audio BBC


1 hour clips

New Addition 02.09.79 Tony Blackburn's first Top 40 (2nd hour) 1h

New Addition 31.12.79 Top 40 of 1979 Tony Blackburn 

New Addition 13.01.80 Tony Blackburn Top 40 

New Addition 10.02.80 Tony Blackburn Top 40 

New Addition 31.12.80 Top 40 of 1980 Tony Blackburn

New Addition 01.11.81 Tony Blackburn Top 40 

New Addition 31.12.81 Top 40 of 1981 Tony Blackburn 



First Day on BBC Light clip 1  rare August 1967 recording (mp364kbps) 32kbps version 

First Day on BBC Light  clip 2  32kbps Version


Tony's First Show on Radio 1 - 30.09.67   32kbps mp3......  24Kbps MP3

Record of the week (mp3) 32kbps version

Tony with Simon Dee (first R1 show) (mp3) 32kbps version

More clips from first R1 show  (mp3) 32kbps version


NEW ABC Launch  Day Interview with Tony Blackburn in 1967


Pepper Tanner Jingle - You're in Every Morning - 1969 (Mp3)

Winner of Knees of 1968 Competition - Janet Broadhead

1969 Jingles - 'He's in the Air' & 'It Swings!' mp3 56kbps

Request Jingle  


Tony sees a lazy dog (1970)

Made his own bed 1970

School Salute 1970 

The Fun 30 intro 1970  



The following 15 clips are highlights of Tony presenting the 10.00-12.00 AM show on Radio 1, sitting in for Jimmy Young who was on holiday on Monday 12th April,1971.

Handover from Johnnie Walker (2 mins)

Back from worst holiday ever (1.5 mins)

Joke about a chair (1 min)

Thanks to hospital staff - plus Tony sings (3 mins)

Invite for Coffee Break (2 mins)

Inflatable Dogs (1.5 mins)


Hi to Roger Moffit (1 min)

10.30; News with Brian Emperingham

Fight or Milk (2.5 mins)

Thanks to Terry Wogan for weight loss! (1 min)

Manure and Killing Time (1 min)

Coffee Break with Branka from Yugoslavia (4.5 mins)

Tonys' Kissing Tone (2.5 mins)

Nude Pilot (1 min)

Spoof London News (1.5 mins)


Tony tells 'what's happening' all day on Radio 1

Tony Blackburn with 'Gerald' trail (1972)

Tony Blackburn without Dentures trail (1973)

Paul Burnett jokes about Tony (1974)

'Making dreams come true' 247 trail (1975)

Happy July 1975

Introducing the last R1 Johnnie Walker Show (1976)  (1 min)

Name & happy sound jingles

NEW Show Mix 12/09/76 (2 mins)

Listen at your own risk -Tony Singing on-air! 1976 MP3  mp3Version

Tony Blackburn name jingle & 'The happy sound' (mp3file)  32kbps Version

Tony introduces Boz Scaggs in 1976

Last_Golden Hour 1977

Anniversary show clip 1977


Binky Baker's 'revenge!' (Anne Nightingale's husband Binky is famous for having poured a port and brandy over Tony Blackburn's head after Tony retorted 'do you mind, we're trying to have a conversation here.."  to Binky during a Mallory Park fun day).

 Toe Knee Black Burn by Binky Baker (1978)


Tony invites you to Listen to his new Top 40 show in August 1979 (rare mp3file)

'Sensational' with Andy Peebles 1979

Sunday Junior Choice 1979

Introducing the Top 40 on VHF 1979

Tony says 'What a sensation' and more (1978) (mp3 file)




The following are 40Kbps stereo recordings of Tony presenting the Top 40, August 1979.


No.'s 33 to 30 - Ruts to Gerry Rafferty  40Kbps

No.'s 30 to 29 - Gerry Rafferty to Michael Jackson  40Kbps

No.'s 29 to 23 - Michael Jackson to Madness  40Kbps

No.'s 22 to 18 - Madness to Stranglers  40Kbps

No.'s 18 to 12 - Stranglers to Bill Lovelady  40Kbps

No.'s 12 to No.7 - Bill Lovelady to BA Robertson     40Kbp

No.'s 7 to 3 - BA Robertson to E.L.O.   40Kbps

Tony Blackburn in the Radio 1 Studio




The following are 40Kbps recordings of Tony presenting the Chart of the year 1979.


32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1



1 hour clips


02.09.79 Tony Blackburn's first Top 40 (2nd hour) 1h

31.12.79 Top 40 of 1979 Tony Blackburn 

13.01.80 Tony Blackburn Top 40 

10.02.80 Tony Blackburn Top 40 

31.12.80 Top 40 of 1980 Tony Blackburn

01.11.81 Tony Blackburn Top 40 

31.12.81 Top 40 of 1981 Tony Blackburn 




The following are 40Kbps recordings of Tony presenting the Top 20 of the year 1980.


 No.s 20 to 16 - Odyssey to Abba 40Kbps

 No.'s 15 to 11 - Don Maclean to Madness (includes Happy, Happy Sound jingle) 40Kbps

 No.s 10 to 6 - David Bowie to Fern Kinney 40Kbps

 No.'s 5 to 1 - Dexy's Midnight Runners to Police (includes ref. to Mike Read's 'new' show) 40Kbps


Note - the countdown  backing music is  'Theme from Firepower' by the 'Hot Forties' and was released as a single in 1980. A clip can be found on the 'Theme Tunes' page.



Jingle for Junior Choice Competition (mp3)

Junior_Choice closeout 1980

Summer Radio on the Tony Blackburn Show' Jingle


Tony introduces Madness as Bad Manners! (1981) (mp3)

Note - the countdown  backing music in 1981 was P.J.O. - Don't Jive Me.

Tony thanks for 1981 vote (mp3 file) 20kbps mp3version


23rd September 1984; Tony's final Radio 1 Broadcast; Junior Choice.


Handover from Mark Page

Dedication time

Tony thanks BBC people, press & listeners (2minutes)

Adrian Juste show follows, with tears!

Adrian takes a humorous look at Tony's career



The following six clips are taken from a Radio 1

Chris Moyles show 10.03.03. where Tony was a special guest.


Tony won't eat anything with a head

Remembering dropping Diana by Paul Anka into the sea!

Intro to news and sport

Newsreader George apologises

Tony Blackburn's tedious link

Able to say 'Sexual Healing'

Chris presents a gift to Tony






Monday night Soul Show 08.03.04. This broadcast marked a return for Tony to the BBC after an absence of 16 years.



Back at BBC Radio London

You probably know the number better

Lost the Studio Key

Jill listened in the 1980's

Getting Emotional

You arrange it and I'll Turn Up

Power 94.9

Chat with Joanne Good



Comments (3)

0/5 (0)
Mike Frost (London) says...
The Tony Blackburn Show - Stay With The Fun Whoopee - Hear All The Hits ! I do hope that the director general of the BBC, Lord Hall gives back Tony's contract - he is a living legend! We can then enjoy his BBC Radio 2 Pick Of The Pops show & the Sensational BBC Radio London Soul On Sunday show. Radio 1 Britain's Favourite ! Tony will then be able to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Radio 1 next year - after all he did open up the station. The Voice Of Radio 1 - Just For Fun - ... Read More
28th August 2016 9:52pm
Henry Peckham (Stafford) says...
Tony used to play a Jingle with a Little Girl (I think It was His Daughter)saying "Tiny Tot Spot" I had It on tape (Now Lost) Has anyone got this?.
6th August 2016 12:39pm
Mark Jordan (Warrington Cheshire) says...
Tony Blackburn! A legend and defined BBC Radio 1 all the way from the 60's to the present day. After all this time, his voice on the radio is such a joy every time I listen. Thank you Tony for being a big part of my memories. I am so sorry for what the BBC has done to you and I hope you prevail. God Speed!
6th March 2016 2:11pm
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