Charley Boorman has one of those instantly recognisable, open faces, with his piercing eyes and distinctive facial furniture.
But he’ll gladly admit that but for his springer spaniel Ziggy, those striking musketeer looks might have been lost to an admiring public five years ago.
“My wife took Ziggy to the vet who checked his nuts and one was larger and quite swollen. The vet was worried, even more so when my wife said one of mine was like that,” said the father-of-two.
The then 44-year-old was frog-marched by wife Olivia to his doctor and within days was admitted to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London where blood tests and a CT scan led to an operation to remove the testicle and a course of chemotherapy.
Since the shock diagnosis shook him from his health apathy – “I’d noticed one wasn’t feeling quite right and had this deep ache in my groin” – Charley has been a key figure in raising awareness of men’s health.
The star of motorcycle movies Long Way Round and By Any Means is now a proud Movator for Movember, sharing the emotional back story of his brush with testicular cancer to raise awareness of the need to ditch the razor for the month.
“I’m a bloke so I ignored the warning signs but it’s crucial that us guys check ourselves… or better still, get our partners to,” he laughs. “Part of the reason I’m here today is because of the money and awareness raised by the guys at Movember and the thousands of men who have been lazy and not bothered to shave for a month down the years.
Charley admits he won’t be messing with his Mo too much this month, but sees his role as more motivational, to break down the mythical barriers preventing chaps from literally getting to grips with the issues of prostate and testicular cancer.
“Women don’t have any problems with checking themselves so why should we? The guys at Movember are all really funny people and they have made it cool to check yourself and act on it,” he said.
“Motorcycling is now a real force for good, with fun events like Movember and Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride making people smile and think about their health all in one.
Charley plans to be busy during Movember, urging fundraisers and some of the world’s best ‘tash teams to keep their top lip campaign on track.
He said: “I’m going to be offering advice and motivation with tips like using a little mascara to touch up your ‘tash while it goes through the bumfluff stage or eyelash plumpers to tease it out once it’s up and growing.
My dog’s b******s saved me, but it doesn’t have to get that far. It’s all good fun so make sure you get involved.Charley Boorman
It’s not too late to sign up for Movember – visit www.movember.com