Former Hey Hey It's Saturday star John Blackman has opened up on his battle with skin cancer, saying he fears the diagnosis will end his career.
Blackman, 71, Hey Hey's sardonic announcer and the voice of puppet Dickie Knee, has had his jaw removed and reconstructed with bone taken from his leg after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer on his face.
"It was just a little pimple like a couple of years ago, and like most blokes I picked at it and squeezed it and did all of that, and eventually it grew into this huge BCC (basal cell carcinoma)," Blackman told Nine's A Current Affair, ahead of the 10-hour operation this week.
The TV and radio presenter said doctors told him to "get prepared to not be able to do all the things you've been able to do for the past 50 years".
"I immediately thought that's going to be the end of my career," he told A Current Affair.
"I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't have any other skills except that, the skill I have which is hopefully making people laugh and being a professional entertainer or corporate presenter.
"To perform you have to look good, you have to sound good, you have to sound confident and be confident, and I just won't be able to do that anymore."
On Wednesday, Blackman's wife Cecile told 3AW's Neil Mitchell that the comedian was in the ICU at Melbourne's The Alfred recovering and is unable to speak following the surgery.
"Nobody can tell us exactly how long it will take before he is able to actually speak, because of all the trauma" to his face and neck, she said.
"I can't believe how much I'm missing not being able to talk to him," she said.
Blackman, who has regularly worked on Melbourne radio since Hey Hey's short-lived revival ended in 2010, had previously had a benign brain tumour removed in 2008.
Rob Moran is an Entertainment reporter for The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Times.