What The Wiggles' documentary tells us about the power of reinvention.

As I watched the opening scenes of Prime Video's new Wiggles documentary, Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, I was overcome with a sort of nostalgic excitement. An all-consuming sense of FOMO as the 10,000-strong crowd screamed and cheered as the original four walked onto the stage. 

But it wasn’t a crowd of children singing along as the OG Wiggles members – Anthony, Greg, Murray and Jeff - performed a string of hits including, Hot Potato, Get Ready to Wiggle and Rock-a-bye Your Bear.  These die-hard fans were grown ups. 

“I remember when Anthony brought up the idea of an adults-only concert,” recalls the original and longest standing Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, who wore the yellow skivvy for 16 years. 

“I think it sold out in 10 or 20 seconds. It was phenomenal. So we knew there was a bit of a market there,” Greg tells Mamamia.

More than “a bit of a market”, The Wiggles performed to around 10,000 extremely enthusiastic fans at world-class arenas including Rod Laver and Qudos Bank. In 2021, the group took out the top spot in the Triple J Hottest 100 with their cover of Tame Impala’s song, Elephant. They've graced the cover of The Rolling Stone magazine, and performed at the Mardi Gras and Falls Festival. 

“And I think what that speaks to is the relevance of The Wiggles, to the young people, but also the older people. And for me, what it says is that, even as adults, we're still so connected to who we were as children.


“They were carefree. They were exploring the world and The Wiggles were right alongside them as they were doing that. And I think that holds a special place in their hearts and they can revisit that when they come and see Big Wiggles.”

The Wiggles perform at Falls Festival 2022/23 in Fremantle. Image: Getty.

And of course, those same Wiggles fans are now exposing their own children to the red, blue, purple and yellow skivvies, whose popularity continues to rise, here in Australia and around the world. 


The Wiggles’ ability to transcend age, to transcend even their own members, is extraordinary. 

When my children were toddlers, the thing I loved most about this group of adorably upbeat men, was their authenticity and unpolished edge. This, combined with the important messaging in the songs, and music that wasn’t hard on the ears, made The Wiggles incredibly appealing as a parent. 

“The music is not that sort of cliched kids’ music, it's a little bit more sophisticated,” says Greg. “The tunes are very catchy.” 

He shares an anecdote he’s heard time and time again, about parents arriving at work or home from the school run, to discover they’ve been listening to The Wiggles without the kids in the car. 

I was one of those people. 

Greg attributes that unique blend of wholesome enthusiasm and good music to Anthony and Jeff’s experience in rock’n’roll band, The Cockroaches, combined with the fact he, Anthony and Murray all studied early childhood education at university. 

The band’s subsequent world domination, Greg describes as a “happy accident”.

“The goal was really just to create developmentally appropriate entertainment for children,” he says. “So because three of us were teachers, that was at the heart and core of everything we did."


Greg with Red Wiggle Murray Cook. Image: Prime Video.

“Whether it was how we speak to the children, and even the sort of unpolished aspect of it, that was part of the strategy too, because we knew that, the more production you put into it, the more distracted the child becomes, the less focused they are on the content, which is the most important thing.”


More than 30 years later, The Wiggles has managed to simultaneously evolve while maintaining its wholesome authenticity. So, how have they done it? 

“Regardless of what The Wiggles might have tried over the years to become more polished, or bigger and theatrical, there has always been this barometer that they go back and check, and they go, ‘okay, well, are we hitting these core points that drive our connection with the audience?’”


Today, there are eight Wiggles – each wearing one of the group’s four famously recognisable colours. But while the number of Wiggles has doubled, their connection with the audience is as strong as ever. 

This is an incredible feat in itself, given The Wiggles became known for their characters, even incorporating those personas into their performances, with songs such as Wake Up Jeff and Play Your Guitar With Murray. 

In 2006, Greg made the difficult decision to leave The Wiggles, after being diagnosed with orthostatic intolerance. And while he’ll forever be known as the original Yellow Wiggle, somehow, the group has managed to garner love and support for its new members too. 

“I think at the very heart of what The Wiggles is, is the colour scheme. So the yellow skivvy has changed person several times now, and there are two Yellow Wiggles at the moment.”

Greg says, as long as the person wearing the skivvy is there for the audience, and not themselves, the connection with the audience will remain strong. 

“There's certain criteria that needs to be met to make sure that connection is authentic, and that it's meaningful, and that it has a purpose. 

“As long as The Wiggles stay true to that, and so long as they can keep coming up with good songs, which they do, then I think they're going to always be relevant.”


Along with a bigger budget, slicker shows and more impressive theatrics, The Wiggles has introduced a more diverse team too, like Yellow Wiggle favourite Tsehay Hawkins.

“Studies have shown that a TV audience needs to see themselves reflected in what they're viewing,” says Greg.

“For many years, it was Anthony, Murray, me, and Jeff. And that's just the way it was because we didn't formulate this, we didn't sort of sit down and craft it. 

“And I guess had we done that it would have been a different looking group, but the connection with the audience might not have been the same because we would have had to look for people. The four of us were friends, we knew each other, and there was a chemistry there.”

Greg with fellow Yellow Wiggles Evie Ferris and Tsehay Hawkins. Image: Prime Video.


Greg says the documentary was a chance for the OG Wiggles to share their own personal stories behind the big story. 

“I think people probably wonder why that is and wonder what we are like offstage. Are we the same as we are on stage? Is it all an act? Are we genuine? Those kinds of things.”

Now that he’s looking from the outside in, Greg says it’s incredible to witness the force The Wiggles have been, and continue to be, in entertainment. 

“And the fact that continues on is no small feat,” he says. 

“Thirty years, with Anthony there at the helm, still getting up on stage every day, putting that blue skivvy on because he loves it. That's a story.”

Watch Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles now, only on Prime Video. Start your 30 day free trial today.

Feature Image: Prime Video/Getty.

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Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles on Prime Video
Watch Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles now, only on Prime Video.