Vale John Blackman

Radio and TV presenter, voiceover artist, writer and author John Blackman has died aged 76 after a long battle with cancer.

Blackman was probably best known for his voiceover work across nearly three decades on the comedy TV show Hey Hey It’s Saturday, but radio was his great love and where his professional career began.

55 years ago Blackman joined 2GN in Goulburn, working most every job in the building from on air to sales, news reading to ‘record librarian’. In 1970 he moved an hour further down the road to Canberra’s 2CA for 18 months before joining Melbourne’s 3AW. In the 70s, alongside his Hey Hey commitments, he also hosted mornings on 3AK and, briefly, joined 2UE before at the end of the decade returning to 3AW where he and Bruce Mansfield led the breakfast ratings for five years.

After being let go from 3AW he moved to 3UZ on breakfast and, after a seven year break from the industry, to 3AK with Anna “Pinky” Pinkus and Denis Donoghue until 2000. He moved to Adelaide in 2004, joining Triple M and doing breakfast with Jane Reilly. Then back to Melbourne to 3GG, 3AW again and finally, from April 2015 to May 2016 doing breakfast for MAGIC 1278 in Melbourne and MAGIC 882 in Brisbane.

He would create a podcast in 2016 with pharmacist Gerald Quigley called If Pain Persistsbefore undergoing major cancer surgery on his face in 2018 where his whole jaw was removed and replaced. There was more surgery in 2020 and another cancer battle in 2022.

The Channel 7 Morning Show’s Peter Ford said this morning that Blackman is believed to have died from a heart attack:

John had got home and was having a rest in the afternoon yesterday. He came out to the kitchen and said to (his wife) Cecile “I’m not feeling so great. I’ll just have a sit down on the couch“‘

Ford also spoke to Tom Elliott on 3AW, where Blackman spent so many years, with colleagues, friends and fans leaving tributes on their Facebook page below.


Nine and 3AW released this statement about John’s passing:

“Today, Nine and 3AW join in mourning the loss of John Blackman, a cherished voice in Australian media. John, renowned as the iconic voiceover artist for “Hey Hey It’s Saturday,” 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, humor, 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.

Throughout his illustrious career, John demonstrated an unwavering commitment to his craft. His remarkable versatility and enduring presence in the industry underscored his exceptional talent. Colleagues and fans alike admired his professionalism and the genuine kindness he exuded both on and off the microphone.

John Blackman’s legacy is one of laughter, dedication, and a profound impact on Australian media. As we remember his remarkable journey, we celebrate the indelible mark he left on our hearts and the entertainment landscape. He will be deeply missed, but his voice will continue to echo in our memories.

Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with John’s wife Cecile, family, friends, and all who had the privilege of knowing him.”

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