Entertainment

Tony Blackburn joins Grimmy to celebrate Radio 1's 50th birthday

The inaugural host of the breakfast show in 1967 returned to the station.

Tony Blackburn helped Radio 1 celebrate its 50th birthday and joked of his broadcast “why isn’t Radio 4 taking this for goodness sake?!”

Blackburn, 74, the inaugural host of the breakfast show in 1967, returned to the station with current incumbent Nick Grimshaw.

Saturday’s special breakfast show aired on Radio 1 and Radio 2, but Blackburn quipped that more stations should be broadcasting the programme.

“We should be on more (stations),” he said. “I mean, why isn’t Radio 4 taking this for goodness sake?! 6 Music, Radio 1 Xtra, Radio 3! The whole lot. A complete takeover.”

He and Grimshaw were joined by DJs Sara Cox, Simon Mayo and Mike Read for the show.

They played tracks by everyone from the Village People to Kanye West and Primal Scream to Madonna.

Grimshaw dismissed suggestions that younger listeners could be put off by having older music and DJs on the show.

“Young people are more in tune with music …because it’s more available…,” he said.

“Kids are aware of music from all different generations because you can listen to it on YouTube or Spotify. There are so many different ways to access it,” he told BBC Breakfast.

On the radio, Blackburn told how he accidentally put the phone down on Frank Sinatra when the singing legend once called the breakfast show.

“I said ‘very funny’ and put the phone down but it was actually Frank”, he said.

Listeners approved of the celebration.

@ZakareeeeHurst wrote: “Radio 1 are playing absolute bangers today.”

@DigitalFeline wrote: “Loving the idea of my 81 year old mother listening to Jay Z and Kanye West when she turns on Radio 2 this morning.”

But not all were happy.

@mrqict wrote: “Listening to Radio 1 vintage/50 years of. Switched off when Sara Cox announced ‘Mike Read has his guitar…'”

And some were surprised to find Grimshaw on Radio 2 airwaves.

Blackburn said that when he uttered the first words on Radio 1, he had no doubt the station would last the course.

“When I opened it up, I thought this is going to go on forever… I thought it would go on for a long, long time,” he told the Press Association.

“I remember the first broadcast like it was yesterday.”

A three-day, digital pop-up radio station is also broadcasting hour-long, nostalgic shows made up of archive material as part of the anniversary celebrations.

Dubbed Radio 1 Vintage, it features archive clips from Noel Edmonds, the late John Peel and Kenny Everett, Zoe Ball, Chris Moyles and more.

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