Profile: Tony Blackburn: Born in Guildford, Surrey in 1943, Tony was educated at Millfield Public School in Somerset and Bournemouth College. The son of a doctor in Lilliput near Poole, Dorset, he made his first public appearance with a school group at the age of 16. He sang and played guitar with the Ian Ralfini Dance Orchestra at the Bournemouth Pavilion while at college and later appeared in various bands at hotels.
Having finished his education, Tony read in the music press that disc-jockeys were wanted by offshore radio. He applied, got the job and made his first appearance on Radio Caroline on July 28th 1964, later joining Radio London in 1966.
Tony joined the BBC in August 1967 and made his first broadcast on 'Midday Spin' for the Light Programme. When BBC Radio 1 commenced broadcasting on 30th September 1967, Tony presented the daily "Breakfast Show", and was the first disc jockey on the new network, playing The Move's 'Flowers In The Rain' and later introducing us to his trusty studio sidekick, Arnold the dog. (Woof Woof!) Radio 1 used resung Radio London PAMS jingles, and was trailed especially by Tony as 'Wonderful Radio 1' in a mimic of 'Wonderful Radio London/Big L'. Noel Edmonds took over the Radio 1 breakfast show in June 1973. Tony stayed with Radio 1 until 1984 when he joined London's Capital Radio.
During his Radio 1 days, Tony was married to actress Tessa Wyatt. Together they conceived a young son, Simon.
Tony has even made records singing both as himself, and under a different name. As himself, he reached the charts first on 24th January 1968 with 'So Much Love' which stayed in the charts for 4 weeks peaking at number 31, and secondly, and finally, with 'It's Only Love' which entered the charts on 26th March 1969, staying in the run-down for 3 weeks and peaking at number 42.
The comedian Paul Whitehouse (The Fast Show) teamed up with Harry Enfield in a send up of Radio 1 DJs. Paul played Mike Smash (Smashie) who worked with Dave Nice (Nicey). Smashie's personality included a large amount of Tony's mannerisms along with many others. Some critics feel it was Smashie & Nicey on Radio FAB-FM that encapsulated how the public saw Radio 1 which in-turn led Matthew Bannister to wield the hatchet at the station.
Tony has made numerous and at times regular television appearances including hosting his own show "Time For Blackburn" in 1969. He is well remembered for presenting BBC Television's world famous "Top Of The Pops" and was a regular on Noel Edmonds' House Party. He also presented a three-hour morning show from Monday to Friday on BBC1 for a number of years.
He continues to make regular guest appearances on a wide range of television shows, including QVC, the satellite shopping channel and most noticeably in 2002 when he won ITV's 'I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here' which involved a group of celebrities being 'stranded' in the Australian jungle with Uri Geller, Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, Christine Hamilton, Nigel Benn, and Rhona Cameron. With votes being cast by the public for whom they wanted to leave the jungle, Tony was voted for the least and went into the final with Tara. Money generated from voters' phone calls went to charity. Some say this success re-launched Tony's career, whilst others say it was just another part of an ongoing career. His win was featured on primetime TV & Radio News, countless TV chat shows & front pages of most national newspapers. In October 2002, Tony joined with Tara once more to announce the winner of an award at the NTA (National Television Awards) in the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Capital Gold has been Tony's main home from the station's inception in 1988, where he spent fifteen years, and a lot of that time in his old faithful Radio 1 slot, Breakfast, and he's also made a fantastic job of the Drivetime Show 'til 7pm weekdays. He is a great lover of Soul Music, and this is where he has also is spent time on Capital Gold, on a Soul show too. However, during the same period - he was also working on UBC's Classic Gold, Saturday mornings, with his show available in 18 areas of the UK and via digital networks.
Tony is an expert in Soul and Motown, but claims that the secret of his success lies in not taking the music he plays too seriously. He's a vegetarian, he rarely drinks and lists his gold-sequinned jacket, Diana Ross and his jet-ski amongst his favourite things.
Whereabouts: Tony Blackburn quit Capital
Radio after 15 years in 2003. Making his announcement, he stated he
would be continuing with other current radio projects, but would prominently
move to rival ''oldies' station, UBC
owned Classic Gold. Floating on a high level of publicity
after his TV celebrity survival win and other TV documentaries ('The Real Tony
Blackburn' & 'The Entertainers') Tony quitting Capital after 15 years
to take over the Breakfast Show six days a week on the national network of Classic
Gold station. His Saturday morning show was already available in 18
areas of the country and via digital radio.
Tony said "I am excited at the prospect of returning to my breakfast roots. The Classic Gold network already feels like home to me following my Saturday morning shows with them and I am looking forward to working six days a week with such a great team. I'm sorry to be leaving the Capital Group after 15 years but I felt, entering my 39th year on air, this was such exciting opportunity I just couldn't turn it down."
Whilst this is the official word, it is thought that Tony has become increasingly enraged with Capital rescheduling, reducing the size of, or cancelling his Soul Show whilst football commentary takes the centre stage. Through all this, soul, funk and jazz fusion have remained Tony's private passions, and he also brings all of those styles to Jazz FM 100.4 in the North West, in one of Jazz FM's top-performing programmes every Saturday night.
Tony Blackburn also returned to television Christmas 2002 as host of ITV1's Saturday night show 'Animals do the Funniest Things', plus he performed on 'Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes' in January 2003 as Cliff Richard.
In January 2003, Tony Blackburn was
signed to host a weekly shows on the Real Radio network. Tony
started his 'Real Party Night' show, from Saturday 11th January 2003, playing
four hours of favourite disco and soul classics from 6-10pm.
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