Television and radio star John Blackman passes away aged 76

John Blackman

Blackman most famously voiced the Hey Hey It’s Saturday character Dickie Knee.

John Blackman, star of Hey Hey It’s Saturday and 3AW broadcaster, has died aged 76.

Blackman most famously voiced the Hey Hey It’s Saturday character Dickie Knee.

He was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2019, and underwent surgery to remove part of his jaw as a result. The cancer reappeared in 2022, resulting in further surgeries. Entertainment reporter Peter Ford told 3AW’s Tom Elliott on Wednesday that despite this, he is thought to have suffered a heart attack.

“In a perverse kind of way, it means the cancer didn’t win in the end and he put up an incredibly brave fight and it took a horrible toll,” Ford said.

In a statement, Nine and 3AW said Blackman: “Brought joy and laughter into countless homes every weekend. His distinctive voice and quick wit became a hallmark of the show, endearing him to generations of viewers. His remarkable talent brought characters like Dickie Knee, The Angel and Mrs Macgillicuddy to life, making him a household name and an integral part of the show’s legacy.

“John’s contributions to Australian entertainment extended beyond television. As co-host of the top-rating breakfast program on 3AW in the 1980s, he became a morning companion for many, offering warmth, humour, and insightful commentary to start the day. His ability to connect with listeners, combined with his natural storytelling prowess, made him a beloved figure on the airwaves.”

3AW broadcaster Neil Mitchell called Blackman a “top class broadcaster,” saying: “[It’s] very sad to hear of the death of John Blackman. He was a constant through my radio career.”

On social media, Derryn Hinch paid tribute to Blackman, saying: “He handled his illnesses so bravely. We had some huge rows but he was the fastest ad lib man ever. Vale.”

Livinia Nixon, Blackman’s former co-star on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, added:  “I’m just heartbroken for his wife and Tiffany, his daughter, and everyone that he looked after because even though he had so much on his plate in the last few years, healthwise, he was the backbone of that family.”

Blackman is survived by his wife, Cecile, and their daughter.

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