Spoiler alert: If you haven’t seen ‘Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles’ yet, there are some spoilers ahead!
After an epic journey spanning 32 years, the original crew behind the Australian children’s entertainment group The Wiggles are taking everyone behind the scenes.
From the meaning behind the iconic coloured skivvies to the weight on family life and health struggles, Here are the biggest revelations in the new Amazon Prime documentary ‘Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles’:
The Beginning of The Wiggles and their signature coloured skivvies
The core intention for the Wiggles was catering to their young audience, even where it all began - during Anthony Field and Murray Cook’s studies in early childhood education at Macquarie University in Sydney.
The idea for the skivvies was simple but brilliant! They wanted every child to recognize the band members, even if they didn't know their names - genius, right?!
But there was one colour, everyone kept clear of…
"My memory is Greg got yellow and all of us were glad," Anthony chuckled in the documentary, with Jeff Fatt adding he "chose purple straight up".
While Murray, well, he "just had a red shirt".
Jeff Fatt’s ‘very uncomfortable’ struggle with stage fright
Jeff Fatt revealed how his extreme stage fright early in The Wiggles career birthed the iconic trait of his character constantly falling asleep on stage.
"I'm very uncomfortable, actually, with being in front of an audience, unless I have a role to play," Fatt says.
"PUBLIC SPEAKING, THAT SORT OF STUFF, FORGET ABOUT IT."
Murray joins in with a laugh, saying: "We couldn't really trust him to say much.”
“HE'D QUITE OFTEN SAY THINGS THAT WEREN'T APPROPRIATE FOR KIDS. NOT IN A BAD WAY, BUT LIKE, 'NO, YOU WOULDN'T SAY IT LIKE THAT'.”
“So we had to give him an education as The Wiggles evolved,” he added.
And so, “Wake Up Jeff” was born, with Fatt dozing off during shows and needing the kids’ help to wake him up.
The ‘heart-wrenching’ sacrifice for The Wiggles' success
In the documentary, Anthony’s daughter, Lucia Field - who is now a Blue Wiggle herself - shares: "When I was younger, I couldn't really connect that Anthony and my dad were the same person.”
"I USED TO GET A LITTLE CONFUSED, LIKE, 'WHAT ARE THEY DOING WITH MY DAD ON TV? WHAT IS GOING ON?'"
Anthony acknowledged that while his three children lived comfortably in a nice house and attended great schools, there was a flip side.
The job meant he “hadn’t been around for a lot of [their childhoods]”. He'd pop home to "hang out" but was soon off on another weeks-long tour.
It wasn't easy for Murray either, who spoke about the pain of having to leave his family behind to jet off to other countries.
“It was just heart-wrenching when you had to leave,” Murray said, adding that their families “didn't really sign on for this".
"There was a point where [my son] said one time, 'I don't like music'... 'Cause that's what takes Daddy away'," Murray recalled.
Greg giving up the yellow skivvy amid health struggles
Greg’s had his own share of health scares during his journey with The Wiggles.
During a tour in Hong Kong amid the 2003 SARS pandemic, Greg had a scare after collapsing backstage.
While it turned out not to be SARS, Greg took a much-needed break from performing to be with his family.
However, the mystery behind his collapses persisted and more frequent. While he tried to perform when he could, understudies were sometimes only given 30-second notice before taking over his role.
Eventually, Greg revealed he was diagnosed with orthostatic intolerance in 2006 – a condition characterised by lightheadedness, palpitations, fatigue, blurred vision, syncope, exercise intolerance, discomfort in the chest, cognitive impairment and dizziness.
"IT FELT LIKE MY THREE MATES THAT WE STARTED THIS THING TOGETHER WITH WERE GOING OFF WITHOUT ME - IT WAS TOUGH!”
In the end, he had to make the tough decision to step away from the group, with the rest of the Wiggles buying him out of the business.
Anthony felt blindsided by Jeff and Murray's retirement
In 2011, Jeff experienced his own "heart incident" which meant he needed a pacemaker.
"Back then, you're looking at that and you think, 'This is never going to end', but things do end," Jeff said in the documentary as he reflected on his 2012 retirement.
Murray felt like he needed to be with his family. He mentions his son finishing schooling at the time, adding: "It sort of felt right for us.”
However, Anthony admits to not having the same feelings and instead recalls feeling blindsided by his bandmates' decision to leave the group.
He says: “I wasn't even involved in the conversation about Murray or Jeff, about them leaving.”
“I TURNED UP TO THE BOARD MEETING AND THEY ALL HANDED IN THEIR RESIGNATION AND I WAS SITTING THERE LIKE, 'WHAT'S GOING ON GUYS?'"
"It wasn't great," Field says.
There you have it, a handful of the major revelations from the new ‘Hot Potato: The Story of The Wiggles’ documentary. Who knew there were so many shocking moments over the years?