The sad truth behind The Wiggles' iconic finger wiggle

Kinderling News & Features

Wiggly hands for a wiggly band. It just makes sense, right? Sadly, the reason this hand gesture was created isn't as cheery as you'd think.

Everybody knows The Wiggles’ cheerful pointy finger move, but a recent interview has shed some light on one of the reasons it was invented.

Get ready to Wiggle!

The original red Wiggle Murray Cook spoke to Mark Fennell of SBS program The Feed about his life before, during and after The Wiggles and Mark couldn’t help but bring up those iconic pointy finger moves. #WhoWouldnt?!

“I was curious about … well I don’t know the technical [term] … Wiggles Fingers?” Mark begins.

“The Wiggles Fingers,” the now retired Wiggle Murray confirms.

“‘Cause it was inspired a little bit by cricketers, but I guess also there was a bit of a child safety component?” Mark suggests of The Wiggles’ iconic move.

Murray agrees.

The Wiggles Fingers

“The thing [about] being a man in early childhood, a teacher in early childhood [is] you have to be aware that you can be accused of things,” Murray explains.

“Part of that is, in the photos when you’ve got kids there, if you’ve got your hands doing this …” – Murray demonstrates the famous Wiggles Fingers – “Everyone sees where your hands are.”

“It’s a shame that it’s an issue, but it is and you have to protect yourself,” he continued.

Crossing boundaries

The Wiggles have understandably always been conscious of managing their contact with children respectfully and carefully.

Paul Paddick, who played The Wiggles’ friendly pirate Captain Feathersword, told The Sydney Morning Herald that he was advised that any physical contact with kids was strictly forbidden and those signature Wiggles Fingers were an easy way to get around it.

“I didn’t know any of that stuff when I first became Captain Feathersword,” Paul said in the 2005 SMH chat. “I’m very hands-on.”

Fear of litigation

When he joined the crew, The Wiggles team told Paul that “touching children, however innocently, was inappropriate,” The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Not only was it considered inappropriate and a crossing of respectful boundaries between kids and adults, but there was also apparently the fear that it could leave the group open to litigation, the SMH said.

That said, it’s vital for men to be involved in the education and entertainment of little ones, Murray told The Feed.

There should be more men in early childhood education. I think it’s an undervalued sector.”

This article originally appeared on Babyology.