Old Wiggles make way for the young (and female)

AND then there was one. After entertaining children for 21 years the Wiggles will undergo a massive makeover with three of the ageing originals departing in favour of younger performers.

The new Wiggles will include a female putting on the trademark skivvy for the first time.

Only the Blue Wiggle, Anthony Field, will remain.

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For millions of toddlers and parents across the world, it is comparable to John, George and Ringo leaving the Beatles.

The seismic shake-up follows revelations last January that the Wiggles, who regularly led the rich lists among Australian entertainers, suffered a $2.5 million loss last financial year.

The financial disaster became public less than a fortnight after a public outcry about the axing of the former Yellow Wiggle, Sam Moran, in favour of the original performer Greg Page.

The Wiggles yesterday issued a statement confirming the changing of the guard at the end of the year.

The original Wiggles will embark on a "celebration tour" with shows planned for Singapore, the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand. The group will head home for their final Australian tour in November and December.

"We've been entertaining children around the world for 21 years and it's important that we plan for the future so that The Wiggles can keep wiggling in the years to come," red Wiggle Murray Cook said yesterday.

"The touring and performing over the past 21 years has meant that we've spent a long time away from our own families and friends."

The original Wiggles are aged between 40 and 58. Cook, Jeff Fatt and Greg Page will hand over the red, purple and yellow skivvies to a new generation.

Field will continue on stage as the Blue Wiggle alongside dancer Emma Watkins, Lachlan Gillespie, and Simon Pryce, who have been hand-picked by the group to become the yellow, purple, and red Wiggles.

At their peak the Wiggles were named Australia’s top earning entertainers for four years running, with earnings of up to $45 million per year.

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