The family tragedy that changed the course of The Wiggles.

The Wiggles are known for their coloured skivvies, finger guns, their many, *many* iconic songs and most of all, childhood joy. 

But the band, whose existence has brought smiles to the faces of children (and their parents, let's be honest) for 30 years, was partially born from tragedy.

In the band's Prime Video documentary Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles, blue Wiggle Anthony Field and his brother, the band's manager Paul Field, recall how the death of Paul's daughter Bernadette became a catalyst for the band's very existence.

Watch: the Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles trailer. Post continues below video.

Video via Prime Video.

During a 1988 tour for The Cockroaches, the band that he and his brothers were in prior to the Wiggles, Anthony recalled being down the hall when Paul got the phone call that his daughter had died.

"Bernadette passed away at 10 months from SIDS. The Cockroaches were on tour at the time. I remember hearing this scream from a room that I haven't heard before," Anthony recalled.

"It was a guttural scream and I thought 'What has happened?' Paul had rung home, found out that Bernadette had passed away."

Paul told the documentary that even though this was more than 30 years ago, his emotion still lives just below the surface.


"My world came to an end in some ways. I'm now 61, you know? It happened in 1988 [but] it's that far," he said, pinching his fingers together to show a very small space.

A short time afterwards, The Cockroaches broke up and Anthony began an Early Childhood course and met Murray and Greg, which ultimately led to the formation of the Wiggles band. 

With hindsight, both Anthony and Paul reflected on how it felt like Bernadette's death played a part in creating a show that gives kids so much joy.

"It's one of the factors as to why The Wiggles existed, so I love that fact," Paul said.

"There's a real connection with her and life, children, joy."

In the documentary, the men reflected on how their shows would have an impact on sick children and their families, and they often visited and performed in hospitals.

"There were times I would go to a hospital as a sign of respect for the parents that are there. Having lost a child, it means the world to them," Paul said.

Bringing joy to families who need it is a deep part of the Wiggles philosophy.

"If you can bring any sort of happy memory for that sort of dark time, we're really privileged to be able to do that," Murray said.

Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles is streaming on Prime Video.

Feature image: Getty.

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