DIANNE BUT­LER

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

AT 29, ac­tor Blair Mi­lan was fit, healthy and feel­ing good — or mostly good. Look­ing back, there were some signs things weren’t en­tirely right, says his mother Lyn­dey Mi­lan, the food writer, broad­caster and co-host with her son of Lyn­dey and Blair’s Taste of Greece.

‘‘ He had in­fected wis­dom teeth and the oral sur­geon said un­til you get these wis­dom teeth out you’re not go­ing to get bet­ter, be­cause he had some short­ness of breath,’’ she says.

‘‘ But it wasn’t un­til the last doc­tor that he got a blood test, and . . . that was the day be­fore he col­lapsed and went to hos­pi­tal any­way.’’

Blair was di­ag­nosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and died within three days.

‘‘ It seems that if he had been di­ag­nosed sooner he still would’ve got this sick, but he would’ve had to un­dergo chemo­ther­apy and then died,’’ Lyn­dey says. ‘‘ He was a boy; they think they’re in­vin­ci­ble. ‘‘ We had the same GP his whole life but when he moved away, when you’re sick and you live in Ersk­ineville, you don’t get on your mo­tor scooter to go back to Roseville to go to the old GP, you go to some­one down the road.’’

Lyn­dey and Blair filmed their se­ries in the Pelo­pon­nese re­gion of Greece last year. They wanted to com­bine food and travel and ar­chae­ol­ogy and cul­ture but also to en­gage with the lo­cals.

‘‘ And there’s that el­e­ment of ad­ven­ture,’’ she says, ‘‘ Plus you’ve got the mother-son re­la­tion­ship. I used to think, oh isn’t that great, there’s been the Two Fat Ladies, The Hairy Bik­ers, The Cook and the Chef, well no one can pinch our idea — mother and son.’’

Their close re­la­tion­ship (Lyn­dey de­scribes Blair as a mummy’s boy) is ap­par­ent, but she says she wants it to be a lovely show on its own mer­its, ‘‘ not just be­cause Blair’s died’’.

‘‘ SBS were de­light­ful, they said ‘ do you want us to pull the se­ries’, even though they’d taped it, and we said ‘ no’, Blair’d come back and bite us in the bum. Blair ab­so­lutely loved be­ing the cen­tre of at­ten­tion and he’s so good, he’s so good in the se­ries, how could I deny him that?

‘‘ It just wouldn’t make sense. He’s just so joy­ful. Blair got up ev­ery morn­ing and con­sciously chose to be happy, he con­sciously chose to make the most of ev­ery day and of ev­ery minute. He was just a re­ally up­beat guy.’’

He died on April 17, and Lyn­dey says that, five weeks later, she hadn’t watched a whole episode. ‘‘ I’m fine be­cause I’m talk­ing to you,’’ she says. ‘‘ The old pro­tec­tive mech­a­nism, when you’ve been around as long as I have, it kicks in.

‘‘ I feel that I’m do­ing some­thing con­struc­tive. It’s just the other times that it’s re­ally dif­fi­cult and es­pe­cially when it’s just your­self.

‘‘ My house was al­ways full of all his friends — they’re like my kids as well — so I don’t know, I think it’ll get much worse be­fore it gets bet­ter. It’s still un­be­liev­able that it’s hap­pened.

‘‘ How can you ever be­lieve it’s hap­pened? You think he’s go­ing to walk in the door.’’ Lyn­dey and Blair’s Taste of Greece SBS One, Thurs­day 8pm

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