The Wiggles are an Australian children's band, founded in 1991 but gained international popularity during the 2000s. Greg Page, Anthony Field and Murray Cook met as early childhood education students at Macquarie University in the 80s, while Field was a member of 80s rock band The Cockroaches alongside Jeff Fatt; the three classmates undertook a university project of their own design intended to create music aimed at children with educational value, and Fatt was brought in as a pianist. A few years and a deal with The ABC later, and The Wiggles were born.Over the years they have produced forty-eight albums, several television series and two films, one live action and one animated. The ABC has traditionally broadcast all their shows and been in charge of distributing all their albums and films in Australia. In the United States, the program initially aired on Playhouse Disney, but was supplanted by the Imagination Movers. The Wiggles now have an expanded role on PBS Kids Sprout, with both their show airing and them hosting interstitial segments during programming in the morning called The Wiggly Waffle Show, as well as a spot on its Saturday morning block on NBC.It says something about the Wiggles importance within Australia that when the original yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, left the group, it made national headlines for weeks. The majority of Australians will know at least three of their songs and sing them unashamedly, an almost unique thing in the world when it comes to children's music. They'll also give you the trademark Wiggle finger pointing gesture unashamedly.In December of 2012, three original members — Greg, Murray and Jeff — retired from the group (though they continue to be involved in the franchise's development), and were replaced by three younger band members, one of them female. A new television series, Ready, Steady, Wiggle!, is set to premiere in August of 2013.
Back for the Finale: In January 2012, Greg's return to the group was announced with much fanfare, only for him, Murray, and Jeff to announce their retirement effective at the end of the year. Anthony will remain alongside three entirely new members, but it won't really be the same.
Blooper: In The Wiggles Magical Adventure, Captain Feathersword accidentally bumps the breast of another pirate. It's a tiny little blooper (if she had been wearing a solid color rather than the stripes, no one would have ever noticed), but of the sort that once you have seen it it's hard not to notice it every time - especially because the pirate reacts to something Feathersword let slip, but it's easy after to wonder if she's reacting to the bump.
While not dealing with eating but similar still, Captain Feathersword is a friendly pirate.
Cash Cow Franchise: The Wiggles have put their name on everything from bedspreads to lunchboxes and even yogurt.
Color-Coded Characters: That's Murray in the red skivvy, Jeff in the purple, and Anthony in blue. Greg wore the yellow skivvy until 2006, when he turned his skivvy over to Sam (and then took it back in 2012, only to give it to someone else at the end of the year).
The Cover Changes The Meaning: They've done a few covers of songs aimed at older audiences, both written by the band themselves pre-Wiggles and by other artists.
One that stands out is Monkey Man, originally done by The Maytalls. The original version appears to be about a man telling someone (a girlfriend?) that he's heard rumors of her "hugging up the big monkey man" (implying cheating on the singer) although he can't confirm it. The Wiggles version, featuring Kylie Minogue, is about... an actual Monkey Man.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The group originally had five members (including Philip Wilcher) and wore patterned shirts that bore no resemblance to their trademark coloured skivvies. A couple of years later, Anthony donned a green shirt instead of his now-famous blue skivvy.
Memetic Hand Gesture: You'd be hard-pressed to find an Australian child of the nineties or later who doesn't recognise their signature pointing-wiggling.
The Movie: A theatrically-released movie, produced in 1997, pretty much cemented them as the world's best-loved children's performers.
No Budget: For a group— and brand — that has become one of Australia's biggest (and richest) exports, it may shock some to see that in 1992 Dorothy the Dinosaur looked like this and in 1994 the Big Red Car looked like this.
The Other Yellow Wiggle: The Wiggles' fourth TV series, Wiggle & Learn, was produced in 2008, when Sam had replaced Greg. Sam does turn up as a background dancer in some of the earlier series' episodes, though.
Parent Service: The Wiggles are one of the very few children's music groups to sometimes include attractive (and legal) female dancers in some of their TV episodes, thus catering a bit to the fathers out there stuck watching the videos. After all, when some married couples are in their "having several babies in the space of a few years" you have to excuse a guy for being a guy. (Emma, the new Yellow Wiggle, doesn't look half bad either.)
The Pete Best: Phillip Wilcher, the other original member, who played on their first album in 1991 and was in their first two videos. He left (or was kicked out, depending on whom you ask) the next year, and went on to a successful career in classical music. Effectively Unpersonned from the group, with the first album later re-recorded and the videos redone. He had no color-coding, as he left before the group adopted their trademark shirts.
Romance on the Set: Of Dorothy the Dinosaur, between Sam and Lyn Stuckey, Dorothy's suit actress (now his wife).
Self-Deprecation: In interviews, Jeff has said that his role as the one who always falls asleep and needs to be woken up derives from his lack of background in early childhood education, and that it's a way to get him involved in the shows without him actually needing to do anything.
West Coast Team: Besides the imitators, there were attempts to form overseas counterparts of the wildly popular group in Latin America and Asia. They didn't work, in part because much of the Wiggles' appeal outside the Anglosphere was as a tool for learning English that the kids actually wanted to watch.