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Are your ready to Wiggle? (Photo: Prime Video)
Are your ready to Wiggle? (Photo: Prime Video)

Pop CultureNovember 2, 2023

The Wiggles documentary is a delicious hot potato of nostalgia

Are your ready to Wiggle? (Photo: Prime Video)
Are your ready to Wiggle? (Photo: Prime Video)

Tara Ward puts on her yellow skivvy and climbs into the big red car to watch Prime Video’s new documentary about the iconic Australian band. 

What’s all this then? 

Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles is exactly what the title suggests: a documentary about the colourful history of beloved Australian children’s entertainers The Wiggles. Featuring interviews from Wiggles old and new, the documentary follows the group’s unexpected path from preschool teachers to international stardom, and looks at how the Wiggles brand has constantly reinvented itself over the years to appeal to new generations of fans. 

What’s good?

The documentary starts in the early 1990s, when The Wiggles were just four mates who loved making music together. They met while at university, but never dreamed that one day they’d become Australia’s biggest entertainment earners. “What am I going to do with four blokes and a dinosaur?” one executive asked when they proposed the first Wiggles TV show, but The Wiggles never gave up. They could point their fingers and do the twist, they loved mashed bananas. They knew they were on to something special. 

The documentary dives into how the Wiggles slowly built their music empire, starting out as buskers who carried their merchandise in a suitcase, then becoming ARIA-award winning performers who could sell out arenas across the world. It charts how they evolved from an all-male line up to what is now a diverse, multi-cultural musical phenomenon, while still remaining down-to-earth and relatable. No matter how big the Wiggles got, they were never bigger than the music.  

Murray and Greg at a preschool in the early days of The Wiggle (Photo: Prime Video)

So if you’re hoping for a spicy documentary full of untold secrets and scandals, think again – The Wiggles are probably the world’s best behaved rock-stars. There are, however, revealing insights into the pressures that constant touring placed on the band’s families and marriages, and Anthony talks openly about his struggles with depression while on the road. The Wiggles also discuss the irony of missing out on their own children’s lives so they could entertain other children, and touch on what life is like once you stop being a Wiggle (spoiler: it’s weird). 

There’s also some dramatic moments, like the footage of Greg’s near-death collapse on stage, and plenty of wholesome behind-the-scenes footage. We’re also treated to some delightful random facts, like Greg being the only Wiggle who wanted to wear the yellow skivvy, a sneaky peak at Anthony’s chest tattoo, and finding out the actor who plays Captain Feathersword only got the job because Anthony got a hernia from playing the trumpet. 

The songs, of course, are still absolute bangers. From Hot Potato to Rockabye Your Bear, Do the Monkey to Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car, it’s lovely to learn how The Wiggles made such simple songs that managed to hit preschoolers’ musical sweet spot, over and over again. The music is as catchy and joyful as it ever was, so be warned: you’ll be singing The Wiggles’ greatest hits long after the documentary is over. 

What’s not-so-good

The Wiggles still have a brand to protect, and it feels like there’s more to be said about some topics, including the controversial departure of Yellow Wiggle Sam Moran. Having replaced the unwell Greg in 2006, only to be replaced by Greg several years later, nobody seems to have a clear idea about what actually happened. Was Sam pushed out of the big red car, or did his contract simply come to an end? Even Sam refuses to dive into the controversy, tactfully saying he was sad to go and “let’s leave it there”. That exit could be a documentary in itself. 

The verdict

Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles is a charming piece of nostalgia that will appeal to Wiggles fans young and old. There’s a lot of happiness here, both from the Wiggles as they look back on their unpredictable journey, and the fans who adored The Wiggles as children and now fill stadiums for euphoric adult-only reunion concerts. This documentary is about the uplifting power of friendship, and celebrating the simple joys of childhood. It’s clear The Wiggles have created an enduring legacy that connects deeply to multiple generations. Watching this documentary is a chance to be a kid all over again. 

Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles streams on Prime Video.

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