Tony Blackburn takes public swipe at 'unbelievable' BBC - weeks after quitting long-running radio show

Tony Blackburn takes public swipe at 'unbelievable' BBC - weeks after quitting long-running radio show

WATCH HERE: Tony Blackburn bids emotional farewell to his BBC Radio London show in December 2023

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 28/02/2024

- 08:37

The 81-year-old was less than impressed with the BBC's scheduling decision this week

Tony Blackburn has pulled no punches by publicly criticising the BBC for its scheduling choices this week.

The veteran disc jockey, who announced his departure from BBC Local Radio earlier this month and quit BBC Radio London's Soul on Sunday in December, wasn't happy with the broadcaster's - and its rival ITV's - decision to air FA Cup coverage across Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

The football dominated Monday's schedule on ITV4 as Coventry City took on FA Cup underdogs Maidstone while on Tuesday, Blackburn Rovers hosted Newcastle United to see who'd bag a spot in the quarter-finals of the competition - this time on BBC One.

BBC rival ITV had a similar offering on Tuesday night as coverage of Luton Town's fixture with Manchester City dominated the evening's schedule.

And on Wednesday, Manchester United heads to Nottingham Forest in BBC One's coverage while ITV will dedicate its evening's schedule to the Liverpool match against Southampton at Anfield.

Blackburn, who self-admittedly "doesn't like football", took to X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday night to slam the decision by his employers and ITV to air the volume of football coverage.

Tony Blackburn

Tony Blackburn wasn't happy with the BBC's scheduling decisions this week


"Unbelievable," Blackburn began. "BBC 1 and 2 also ITV all have football on at the same time. Great choice for all of us who don’t like football.

"Never mind there’s so much choice now it’s easy to avoid the 'Beautiful Game'."

When one of his followers echoed his dismay, especially as it resulted in EastEnders being moved from its typical slot, Blackburn reaffirmed his stance.

"And Corrie my favourite, why do they automatically move the shows we want to watch. Put football on other channels, there are enough of them," Blackburn questioned.

Blackburn also fielded a response from one follower who said: "I like football but having FA cup matches on both main channels can't be called inclusive. Not good."

"I agree," Blackburn simply responded.

Elsewhere, more support for Blackburn's point came in, including from one fan who penned: "Tomorrow it’s also on BBC 1 and ITV so yes I agree thank goodness for other options for those that don’t like football -but not happy that I can’t watch my usual programmes-they should both have a separate channel for sport."

However, there were plenty of others who hit back at Blackburn's dismay, especially given the money that is usually forked out to watch live sports coverage on other networks.

Tony Blackburn

Tony Blackburn has been a DJ on BBC Radio for decades


This point was made by one X user who replied to Blackburn's post: "For those of us who won't shell out a fortune to subscribe, once in a while, it's quite nice - one night without the usual drivel isn't too much.

"You're right there is a choice. In Wales, we had our female international team vs. Ireland on BBC2, an excellent game."

A second similarly disagreed with the DJ: "I find it a refreshing change to watch football without needing a mega bucks subscription.

"BBC1 & ITV never have sport on now midweek between 7-10pm ~ it’s all soaps & drama which aren’t my cup of tea. I love films, sports & comedy. BBC1 & ITV never show these Mon-Fri 7-10pm now." (sic)

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