Purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt
Purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt

Purple Wiggle ready for retirement

THERE are no purple clothes in Jeff Fatt's wardrobe.

The Casino-born Wiggle vowed he wouldn't wear the colour off stage when he first donned a purple skivvy 21 years ago.

It's a promise he's kept.

"I have no purple civilian clothes. I've kept the colour for my Wiggles persona and haven't worn the colour in public since the group started," says Mr Fatt.

He will wear the purple skivvy for the last time in December when he and two other members of the original line- up - Murray Cook and Greg Page - farewell their Australian fans.

"In the shows on this tour we acknowledge that we're leaving. There have been tears from some kids.

"The response from parents has also been very heartfelt as some have grown up with The Wiggles," he said.

Mr Fatt turns 60 next year and said the physical toll of performing and touring was the reason he was farewelling his purple persona.

"Sixty is sort of a life-changing milestone and it made sense to leave now. I've had health issues," he said.

"I love the physicality of The Wiggles, but it was the right time to step back and let the younger Wiggles inject new life into the group."

Original member, Anthony Field, will stay on and lead the new line-up - Emma Watkins, Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce - who were handpicked by the group.

"The new Wiggles are part of the current tour and perform with Dorothy the Dinosaur.

"They are wearing T-shirts in their Wiggle colour saying 'In Training'.

Lachie Gillespie [to replace Fatt as the next purple Wiggle] is very laid-back and much like myself.

"He'll become 'Wake Up, Lachie' to replace 'Wake Up, Jeff'. What we have had is too wonderful to let go," said Fatt.

After a life of stardom, Mr Fatt is still a child of the Northern Rivers.

"My family go to Ballina for Christmas and we have our holidays there. I usually make a day trip to Casino," he said.

Looking back over his career, Mr Fatt says one of the biggest highlights was performing at New York's Beacon Theatre on a night when Robert de Niro, Jerry Seinfeld and Lynn Redgrave were in the audience.

After the tour winds up, Mr Fatt will go on writing and recording material for the new Wiggles.

Asked the secret of The Wiggles' success, Mr Fatt said there was no formula.

"When Anthony asked me to get involved in the first Wiggles recording, I never thought it would go much further," he said.

"There is no business plan for this sort of thing. It's something that just happened."