NOW ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO! Yes, I’ve been highly anticipating Sally Aitken’s documentary, Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles. As one who has a child who grew up with the Wiggles, the OG gents Anthony, Greg, Murray, and Jeff were a part of my toddler mornings with daily shows on Disney Junior and videos uploaded to my child’s iPad. Four men singing to children…creepy, yes, but their song left an indelible mark on me and my child.
Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles is the extensive and exhaustive history of the highest-grossing entertainers in Australia. We go all the way back to the beginning. For the uninitiated, The Wiggles were four guys: Greg Page (Yellow Wiggle), Anthony Field (Blue Wiggle), Murray Cook (Red Wiggle), and Jeff Fatt (Purple Wiggle). They were the Beatles for children.
Anthony and Jeff were in a band together called The Cockroaches. Anthony also attended Macquarie University with Greg and Murray as child development majors. All realized they loved music and decided to put their education to good use, teaching cognitive and motion skills, leading to forming a band…thus born are The Wiggles.
At first, the road to success was hard, and soon, they added characters to their show, like Dorothy the Dinosaur and Captain Feathersword. Their success led to the production of DVDs and, soon, a television show. Then they decided to conquer America, but that was like starting over…that is until they became the opening act for one Barney the Dinosaur.
Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles is pretty straightforward as a documentary. Honestly, I hoped it would be as fun and energetic as a typical episode of The Wiggles. Sally Aitken interviews just about everyone. Each one sits on the couch for a chat. The OG’s occasionally whip out an instrument and play.
“…the extensive and exhaustive history of the highest-grossing entertainers in Australia.”
A bit bland at times, the boys hold nothing back. I’ve had a lot of questions over the years and don’t hide anything. My first “controversy” was when Greg, the Yellow Wiggle, retired over health issues. He’s replaced by Sam, who was the Yellow Wiggle my kid knew when she was the right age. Sam was wonderful, but then suddenly, Sam went away, and Greg returned. What happened?…business and Sam’s recollection of his time and the “firing” is heartbreaking.
Other controversies include the COVID hiatus, Anthony taking over after the others decided to retire, the Australian wildfires benefit concert, the cover band contest, and their new “woke” direction. Open and honest, that’s what you get from the Wiggles.
My only other issue with the film was the footage from one of the reunion tours that play predominantly throughout the film. The concert looks great, but the audio consists only of the boys’ vocals and instruments. Crowd noises are barely heard. It simply lowered the energy of that concert. Not a big deal if they wouldn’t keep showing footage from it. Nitpick, I know.
Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles will undeniably entertain anyone who loved the Wiggles as children or, like me, were parents of children who loved the Wiggles. It’s pure nostalgia bait, and I was hooked. Sure, it could be done better, but it’s well enough, and those tunes rock and roll from beginning to end.
Hot Potato: The Story of the Wiggles screened at the 2023 Newport Beach Film Festival.
"…It's pure nostalgia bait, and I was hooked."