Tony Blackburn: BBC gave me resign and return option

BBC DJ Tony Blackburn has claimed that before he was sacked he was given the opportunity to resign from the corporation and return to his job in a "few months".

The veteran broadcaster was fired because his evidence to the Jimmy Savile sex abuse inquiry ''fell short'' of the standards demanded, according to BBC director general Tony Hall.

Blackburn, 73, who has accused the corporation of making him a ''scapegoat'', denied in evidence that he had ever been made aware by the BBC of a complaint against him by a teenager in 1971, even though the corporation told the inquiry he had.

Blackburn has strenuously denied that he ''seduced'' teenager Claire McAlpine after inviting her back to his flat following a recording of Top Of The Pops and is taking legal action.

Speaking to Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme, Blackburn said he was told that if he resigned from the BBC there would be an opportunity for him to return later in the year.

He said: "I had been asked to resign by Bob Shannon (head of Radio 2) of the BBC, but I said, well, why do I want to resign? There's no point. I love my job at the BBC, I love the BBC, why would I resign?

"They gave me the chance to resign, saying that that way you don't actually cut off all ties from the BBC and we could probably bring you back in a few months."

But Blackburn said he refused to do that, "because I have got nothing to hide". He added that he wished he had been "investigated properly" in 1971, "because we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now".

:: The full interview will be broadcast on Broadcasting House on Radio 4 at 9am on Sunday.

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