Legendary TV and radio star John Blackman has revealed the devastating impact of his secret battle with cancer, admitting he was told by doctors he’d have to have his whole jaw removed.
The 71-year-old comedian is best known as an announcer and character voice-over on the Nine Network’s hit show Hey Hey It’s Saturday. One of his best known characters was a head on a stick known as Dickie Knee.
Now however he has revealed in a moving interview with Nine’s A Current Affair – set to air on Tuesday night – that he is battling cancer, and it is slowly spreading round his mouth and in to his jaw bone.
In a teaser for the heartbreaking episode, where he appears alongside his wife Cecile, John is seen pointing to one side of his mouth, which is visibly swollen and larger with the size of the tumour, before slowly working his hand round to the other side and explaining the cancer is likely to spread right round.
“It is swollen and it is now, I think, moving to my jaw bone and that’s causing me a bit of pain as well. In fact, a lot of pain,” he says.
At that, his tearful wife adds: “This is shocking for us.”
The presenter eventually asks: “What did doctors tell you they were going to do? What is going to happen?” To which John’s wife replies: “Remove his jaw.”
Clearly shocked, the host adds: “His lower jaw?” To which John clarifies: “Whole jaw.”
John has worked in radio since 1969 but is best known for his 28-year stint on Hey Hey It’s Saturday. He has since gone on to star on a series of radio shows including most recently Magic 1278, but he was reportedly sacked in May 2016.
He said on social media at the time: “Sadly, when I came off air at Magic 1278 this morning I was informed by management that my services hosting the Breakfast Session were no longer required.
“Because of the immediacy, I did not have an opportunity to say goodbye to the loyal bunch of listeners who stuck with me (and co-host Jane Holmes) throughout the past 12 months. I will miss you all. Thank you for listening.”
On Christmas Eve 2007, he suffered a seizure caused be a benign meningioma brain tumour. According to past reports, he underwent six hours of surgery in which it was successfully removed at the time, and he had a full recovery.