Vale John Blackman, radio and television personality

John Blackman (Image: 92.7 MIX FM via Facebook)

Radio and television announcer John Blackman, best known for his near three-decade stint on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, has died aged 76.

According to entertainment reporter Peter Ford, Blackman reputedly suffered a heart attack while recovering from major surgery related to his recent cancer battle.

“My thoughts on John Blackman – an incredible man and a beautiful performer, and Australia will be sadder with this news,” Ford said.

After beginning his media career on 2GN Goulburn in 1969, Blackman went to 2CA Canberra in 1970 and hosted numerous Breakfast shows, including 3AK, 2UE, 2GB, 3UZ, and MMM in Adelaide.

His television career included appearances on Cop Shop, Prisoner, The Paul Hogan Show, Personality Squares, Blankety Blanks, Family Feud, and Daryl Somers Show.

However, it was his work on the long-running variety program Hey Hey It’s Saturday, where he served as announcer and as the voice of faceless puppet Dickie Knee, that left a lasting impression on audiences. Following the show’s conclusion in 1999, Blackman returned for the subsequent reunion special in 2009 and the 50th anniversary special in 2021.

In 2018, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer, leading to a series of surgeries, one of which was to remove his jaw.

Despite the diagnosis, Blackman remained positive, telling presenters on the You Cannot Be Serious podcast last year that he felt “luckiest person on earth”.

“Adversity, doesn’t matter how important or smart you think you are, everyone has some sort of adversity in their life,” he said.

Blackman is survived by his wife Cecile and daughter Tiffany.