500 lovers Practice sure didn't make you perfect: As Tony Blackburn boasts of his conquests, one was left less than impressed
DJ called Margot Webb ‘Magnificent Margot’ and she nicknamed him ‘Noddy’ – because 'he looks like a puppet'Margot: 'Tony was the worst lover I ever had… he didn't have a clue'
21:46 GMT, 25 May 2012
Setting the record straight: Margot Webb, seen here in the Seventies, had a fling with Tony Blackburn in his hipster heyday
Are you ready, pop pickers Get set for another run-through of the top totty countdown. In a recent Radio Times interview, broadcaster Tony Blackburn admitted he had slept with not one, not two, but more than 500 lucky ladies in his sextastic heyday.
Oh, I say! Who could have imagined milquetoast Tone was once a turbo-charged lady-slayer, leaving such a large carnal footprint in his Cuban-heeled wake
And if the news came as a shock to his fans, imagine what it must have been like if you were actually among his conquests.
If you were a flower in his field of wild oats, a number in his big black book, another notch on his groovy hipster belt.
Margot Webb, for her sins, was one of those women.
‘Well, if Tony has slept with 500 of us, I hope he has learned how to do it right,’ says Margot today.
‘Maybe one of the hundreds of girls gave him some good tips. Oh darling, I hope so!
‘I haven’t had that many lovers, but Tony was the worst one I ever had. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. He didn’t have a clue.
‘To be honest with you, sleeping with him was always the part of our date I looked forward to least.’
Margot and Tony had an affair back in the Seventies, at a time when both of them were married to other people.
Their memories of the magic moments they shared together differ somewhat. He has described their alliance as ‘steamy’, while she obviously thinks it was more of a damp squib.
He called her ‘Magnificent Margot’ while she nicknamed him ‘Noddy’.
Why ‘Because he looks like a puppet,’ she says. ‘I hope that doesn’t sound too mean. It was affectionate in many ways. I don’t hate Tony, but I am really annoyed with him.’
Webb’s grievance with her former lover shows how hurtful it can be for old flames of the famous who suddenly find themselves caught up in the firestorm of a celebrity’s thirst for publicity.
Circumstances change, life moves on, but unfortunately for Margot Webb, she is forever caught in the aspic of her long-ago relationship with the legendary disc jockey.
Blackburn’s recent sex-fession about his 500 conquests may have been declared in a spirit of fun, but the revelations have proved painful for her.
For it swings the spotlight and media interest back on Blackburn’s romantic past, in particular his 2007 tell-all autobiography, Poptastic — My Life In Radio.
Within the pages of this best-selling book, not only did he expose Margot as his former lover and reveal intimate details of their affair, he also suggested that she and her husband held ‘saucy soirees’ at their home, complete with naked swimming pool parties.
‘What a lot of rubbish,’ she says. ‘He had to sex it up because his life was so boring, I suppose.
‘He wrote that the actresses Tessie O’Shea and Beryl Reid would come to our place for a racy time.
‘From the way he went on, you’d think we were throwing orgies. I mean, what is wrong with him
Tony Blackburn was living with his wife Tessa Wyatt (both pictured) in 1973 when he slept with Margot
‘He also said that he and I used to book into hotels for afternoon sex sessions, and that I was so shy I would hide behind the curtains when the waiters delivered coffee or drinks.
‘As if! Tony was so bloody mean he’d never order room service.’
Back then, Blackburn and Mrs Webb lived near each other in Cookham Dean, a leafy Berkshire hamlet popular — then and now — with the rich and famous.
Margot and her composer husband Roger Webb were a sociable couple who held weekend parties for their showbusiness friends at their large home with its splendid pool.
In the summer, it was pool parties; in winter, it was six-course dinner parties with lobsters from Fortnum & Mason and lashings of wine.
Who were the guests ‘Oh, the Wogans, Ernie Wise and his wife Doreen, Val Doonican came over one night, Michael Parkinson, everyone came,’ says Webb.
In his book, Blackburn wrote that guests were ‘virtually paralytic the whole time’ and that on ‘hot and wild nights’ he couldn’t keep his eyes off nude goings-on in the pool.
‘Just a load of rubbish,’ says Margot, who has photographs that attest to the family-friendly nature of the gatherings, which reveal nothing saucier than games of croquet, lots of children playing in the pool and patting the pet baby donkeys kept by the Webbs.
‘When his book came out, Doreen Wise rang me up and joked: “Oooh, Ernie and I didn’t know all this naughtiness was going on. Why didn’t you invite us when everyone was taking their clothes off” ’ says Margot.
At the time, Blackburn was still with his first wife Tessa Wyatt and their son Simon was a toddler. Margot and Roger (who composed the theme music for TV shows including The Gentle Touch and George And Mildred) had a five-year-old daughter, Julia.
Just to keep everything well-ordered, while Margot was sleeping with Tony, Tessa and Roger had a brief fling, too.
‘Roger was a shoulder to cry on. Tessa was very unhappy. I was young and silly. What can I say’ says Margot.
‘From the way he went on, you’d think we were throwing orgies. I mean, what is wrong with him'
Tessa eventually left Tony Blackburn for the actor Richard O’Sullivan, and the couple divorced shortly afterwards. Margot and Roger survived this pimple of poptastic infidelity and went on to have more than 25 years of married bliss.
‘Roger was the love of my life,’ she says. ‘I absolutely adored him. We had a really happy marriage.’
It stood her in good stead for the series of bombshells and the exposure that was to rock her life.
Margot was given no prior notification of the ‘revelations’ about herself, her husband and their ‘wild parties’ that were to appear in Tony Blackburn’s book.
Neither the publishers nor the broadcaster, described on the flyleaf as ‘a bona fide national treasure’, got in touch with Mrs Webb before publication.
Sometimes Margot would visit Tony at the BBC, where she recalls there was no love lost between him and Dave Lee Travis
If he had, perhaps he would have spelled her name correctly (it’s Margot, not Margo). If he had, perhaps he would have discovered she was no longer the glamorous young wife he would pounce on in the garden when no one was looking. (‘We first kissed by the boiler house,’ she recalls.)
In fact, she was a woman reeling from family tragedy and struggling to keep her life and sanity intact.
In 2002, her beloved husband Roger died suddenly from a brain tumour at the age of 68.
In 2005, her daughter Julia, 30, was killed in a car accident in California — ten days after moving to America to start a new life.
Widowed, childless and grieving, Mrs Webb had to face the salvo of Blackburn’s fruity and fallacious disclosures alone.
‘To be honest with you, sleeping with him was always the part of our date I looked forward to least’
‘I feel that I haven’t really got my life back on track since Julia died,’ she says.
‘But what I want to say is this: Roger was a shy and gentle man, not a wild party guy. He would hate for anyone to think of him in those terms, which are just not true.
‘All I have left of my husband are memories — and I don’t want them tarnished by the nonsense in this book, which is humiliating and hurtful. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just want to set the record straight.’
Today, Margot, 62, lives alone in a small, immaculate West London townhouse. There are elegant pastel tones and splashes of sunlight on the pale wood floor.
Yet the first thing visitors notice are the ghosts — the framed photographs of a dead husband and dead daughter that glint on every surface and smile down from the walls.
‘Well. The good thing is I’ve become friends with my local undertaker. Two for the price of one!’ she laughs, then lights a cigarette. ‘I have to say that, Jan. It’s my stock joke. I don’t want people getting all upset.’
More than a quarter of a century after Tony Blackburn pursued her around the garden sheds, age has not withered Margot.
She was born in London and went to a convent school and then the Arts Education drama school, where she remembers the actor David Hemmings was a star pupil.
‘I was a hopeless actress,’ she says. On one of the few little roles she got, she met Norman Wisdom, who invited her to his home for a drink. ‘My mother sent me in a taxi. We were both so naive,’ she says.
'Tony is not a bad person, but he is self-obsessed,' said Margot. She and Tony pictured as they are today
‘At one point, I left the room to spend a penny and when I came back there he was, trousers off, the lot. I had never seen a naked man before. I screamed, picked up my bag and ran out of the flat.’
Looking back on her affair with Blackburn, she says that her only excuse was that it happened at a time when Roger had become absorbed in making his name.
‘I was young and insecure, I wasn’t getting any attention,’ she says.
‘I even left Roger at one point — I didn’t think he wanted me any more. Thank goodness we all got over that.’
She remembers lots of things about the man who was the first face of Radio One. She recalls how Blackburn would play Me And Mrs Jones — the Billy Paul hit about an extra-marital affair — and dedicate it to her on his radio show.
Sometimes she would visit him at the BBC, where she recalls there was no love lost between Blackburn and Dave Lee Travis.
‘If DLT was around, Tony would whisper “Uh oh, body smells” and pull a face.’
The couple went to restaurants where Blackburn was always fussy about his food (he was a vegetarian) and moaned about Margot’s smoking. In his book, he writes of how she once got up in the middle of dinner and left him to go to a casino.
‘I don’t remember it, but perhaps I was bored,’ she says today.
‘Tony is not a bad person, but he is self-obsessed. He would ask me not to wear my high heels.
‘He would spend an hour in front of the mirror in the morning, putting mascara on his bald patch. He wouldn’t go out in the rain. Tony can be very pleasant, but his insecurities make him a nightmare.’
There is so much in his book that rankles, and the rumours that he is writing another one has made Margot determined to put her side of the story on record.
He claims they set up home together in a flat which he rented; she says this is absolutely not true. He says their relationship was ‘steamy’ and based on ‘mutual lust’, while she says: ‘Lust! I didn’t know what lust was at that age.
‘It wasn’t a steamy affair. It was me being besotted. Sex with him was . . . well. He used to think he was a very sexual person and tell me about all his girlfriends, but I think that was making up for his uncertainties.’
Margot Webb did not request or receive payment for this interview.