Radio entertainment and showbiz

Once a pirate always a pirate – Tony Blackburn hijacks Zoe Ball show

Tony Blackburn staged a pirate radio takeover of BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball Breakfast Show this morning to mark 60 years since the launch of Radio Caroline.

The offshore pirate radio station began broadcasting on 28 March 1964, with Tony joining in July of that year.

Tony took over the controls in the studio to broadcast live on Radio 2, playing only 60s tracks for the rest of the show like he played to listeners all those years ago on pirate radio.

On air Tony said: “We are back, the pirates are back! Zoe Ball has been locked out of the studio. I’m here, anarchy once again. We ARE pirates, we’re pirate Radio 2 and here we go, and for the next hour I’m going to play you proper music! Here it is!”

Among the tracks he played were from Tom Jones, Beach Boys, Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison and, of course, the song the station adopted as its theme tune – Caroline by the Fortunes.

Zoe later joined Tony in the studio to hear from him, what was it like broadcasting on pirate radio and his memories of that time.

Zoe Ball with pirate Tony – photo: BBC

BBC Radio 2 is marking the 60th anniversary of pirate radio this Easter weekend. Tomorrow at Midday, Tony Blackburn and Johnnie Walker go head to head in a special quiz Clash of the Pirates.

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