Radio / Tony Blackburn

Godber: I'll have you know they're piping Tony Blackburn into the kitchens now!
Fletcher: (cynical) Yeah, they tends to take the point of view that we're in prison to be punished!
Porridge', circa 1977

Tony Blackburn is a veteran radio presenter and disc jockey whose career began on the Pirate Radio ships operating outside British territorial waters in the 1960's. When the pirate stations were closed down by the British government, Blackburn moved to BBC Radio One on its establishment in 1967. In fact, he presented the very first show on Radio One and was the first voice to be heard. (the first song played was The Move's Flowers in the Rain).

He left the BBC in the early 1980's when it was thought that his style of presenting was too old-fashioned for a youth-oriented radio station. Spurning the usual career move to the BBC's Radio Two, the haven for superannuated Radio One DJ's, Blackburn was lost to most of the country when he opted to go to local commercial radio. His avuncular cheesey style of presenting made him a natural butt for humour and parody, notably by comedians like The Goodies and Harry Enfield. (the Smashy and Nicey radio DJ characters are a portmanteau of old BBC presenters, including Blackburn).

Blackburn returned to the BBC after a long absence working in local commercial radio, presenting nostalgia show Pick of the Pops on Radio Two, appealing to older fans who remember him in his radio heyday. There was a massive popular outcry in February 2016 when the BBC management abruptly fired him, in the fallout from the Jimmy Savile scandal, in fiercely contested circumstances. While there is no suggestion Blackburn was ever involved in any improper behaviour with under-age girls, the sacking reason appears to be a difference of opinion concerning evidence he may or may not have given to the investigating authorities. At the time of writing (March 2016) a massive campaign is underway from fans to get him reinstated at the BBC.

This radio presenter's career involves examples of the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody (just about): Smashey. Or Nicey. Most probably Nicey.
  • Buccaneer Broadcaster: Blackburn's career began on the pirate radio ships Radio Caroline South and subsequently Radio London.
  • Jingle: Blackburn's current Saturday afternoon music nostalgia show is the perfect venue for dusting down and airing his original radio jingles from the Sixties and Seventies.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Blackburn was provoked into making one when sacked by the BBC in dubious circumstances in February 2016.
  • Self Deprecation Blackburn was aware from an early stage that his presentation style teetered on the brink of self-parody, and cheerfully invited parodies and gentle jokes at his expense from such as The Goodies.