This month legendary radio DJ Tony Blackburn celebrates his 80th birthday, and nearly 60 years on air.
Since the Pirate Radio days of the 60s Tony’s unmistakable voice has gone onto broadcast thousands of radio shows to a growing army of loyal listeners. From Radio Caroline through to launching the BBC Radio1 Breakfast Show and his current role presenting across the BBC Local Radio Network and, of course, Sounds of the 60’s and The Golden Hour on Radio 2.
But what is the secret to Tony’s silky radio voice as he celebrates such a milestone?
“Some of my shows can be 4 hours long, which takes its toll on the voice. My good friend suggested I try Manuka honey to keep things in good order and it’s been simply fantastic”.
“I just mix a spoonful of Manuka honey into some hot water every morning. Add a little turmeric and a squeeze of lemon and drink it down. I’ll always have porridge for breakfast with it too so it’s become my morning routine.
A vegetarian since he was a boy, Tony has always looked after himself and takes a daily Vitamin D supplement along with a Multivitamin. He certainly looks very healthy for 80, his face breaking into a smile with every joke.
“In fact I eat so much honey I should be flying really” he tells our interviewer!
Luckily for his listeners Tony embraces the early mornings. He doesn’t sleep very well so getting up at 3:15AM to present his weekend radio show at 6AM is no problem at all. In fact his enthusiasm is boundless as followers to his Twitter account will see thanks to his selfie videos.
But it wasn’t always that way. When he was younger Tony Blackburn was quite a shy person. His father – a Doctor – had got him into Motown music, and as someone who always liked jokes, mixing his genuine love of music with radio led him down a career path that’s served him well.
Not that he has ignored TV. From appearances on Top of The Pops through to his friend Noel Edmond’s “House party” programme and even winning the first ever series of "I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”, meeting Tony face to face he comes over as someone who is always willing to give something a try.
But his true love is the Sixties and he talks with a real passion about the era.
“The 60s was a revolution, not just in music but everything that came with it. We’d gone from the crooners to rock and roll in the late 50’s to an amazingly vibrant decade for music. With that came the fashion, flower power and with the pirate stations a real sense of freedom. I’m so pleased that our radio show continues to be popular with millions of listeners every week and it’s a real privilege to be able to do it. We’re also getting out to perform live to the listeners with our Sounds of the 60s Tour which has been going brilliantly.”
Everyone at Manuka Doctor is very pleased to be working with Tony this month to celebrate his 80th birthday. We wish you many more happy and healthy years on the airwaves,
Tony Blackburn’s Top 3 favourite artists of all time:
- Diana Ross
- Alicia Keys
- Marvin Gaye
And his favourite song:
“Love is the Answer” by England Dan and John Ford Coley