Tim Blair


New Criterion



Thursday, October 03, 2002
WAKE UP, AUNTY! screams the headline from Henny Penny Herald's television program and gossip guide.

What could they be talking about?

Total, blind ignorance about audiences, that's what. It seems the ABC's programmers knocked back those pre-schooler lust objects, The Wiggles.

In the mid-1990s the now supersuccessful multi-coloured maniacs did a pilot program for Auntie. ABC talent squad took their fingers out of their noses and opined "We don't think you communicate well with children". Perhaps they were right. Perhaps Philip Adams is as brilliant as he thinks.

So these dopy goofs just went on wiggling through 500 shows a year. They also produced albums and a few videos of their own for handing out privately, until one mother said "Take the tape back! It's driving me nuts." She meant that her toddler was driving her nuts. Instant Wiggles-freak.

Now they've sold videos in the millions, are regulars on the north American circuit, drag millions of bucks back from the networks in the US and UK and have inspired a Taiwanese copy. Dragging in $14 mill a year. Well....... Perhaps we might think about....

Yes! They're now on Auntie. Who brought them back? Repentant children's programmers? Philip Adams in recompense for inflicting Sesame Street accents on generations of ABC kids? Come on, sharpen up.

It was the merchandising people. This is as big as B1 and B2.

Thank God Auntie's not in trade, like those vulgarians.

(No Herald on-line link findable. Try if you've got time to burn)