|New Red Wiggle, Trevor Mallard|
Labour MP Trevor Mallard has confirmed rumours that he will be the new Red Wiggle from 2013.
The legendary band announced on Thursday that three members of the group will retire at the end of the year.
Jeff Fatt (the Purple Wiggle), Greg Page (the Yellow Wiggle), and Murray Cook (the Red Wiggle) have confirmed that they will retire at the end of the year, leaving Anthony Field (the Blue Wiggle) as the only original member of the band remaining.
On Thursday morning it was confirmed that former ACT MP Rodney Hide would take the place of Greg Page and wear the yellow jersey.
And on Thursday afternoon Labour MP Trevor Mallard confirmed he was taking the place of Red Wiggle Murray Cook.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Mr Mallard, shortly after the announcement was made.
“I’ve been a big fan of the Wiggles since the band first toured New Zealand. I’ve bought tickets to all of their shows, although I’ve never actually seen them perform live.”
Mr Mallard said he had been put on notice several months ago that he was in the running for the position.
“I’ve been training hard to get in shape,” Mr Mallard said, “and spending long hours on the bike. I guess my efforts paid off.”
Mr Mallard confirmed rumours that Wiggles management have been seeking for some time to take the group in a different direction, to create a darker and more intense entertainment experience for children.
“At the moment the kids lose interest in the Wiggles as soon as they reach school age, so the group is aiming to capture an older, more cynical market. My scrappy, take-no-prisoners approach to politics obviously fits that profile.”
Learning the guitar was proving challenging, said Mr Mallard, but he claimed to be making good progress after taking a number of guitar lessons from Labour leader David Shearer.
“Usually it’s me teaching the young pup a thing or two,” said Mr Mallard, “but David’s been hugely supportive. They actually asked David before approaching me, but David was already thinking about a leadership tilt at that point.”
Mr Mallard said he knew nothing about rumours that former National Party leader Don Brash had been approached to play a new character in the Wiggles ensemble, Donald the Dinosaur, or that internet tycoon Kim Dotcom had been recruited to take over the role of Captain Feathersword the Friendly Pirate.
Mr Mallard said it would be a challenge juggling his parliamentary duties with his new role as a singing, guitar-playing and dancing children’s entertainer, but he was prepared for that challenge.
Meanwhile, former ACT Party leader Rodney Hide has announced he will take over the role of Yellow Wiggle from 2013.
“They were impressed with my dancing skills, and my ability to hold reckless and irresponsible governments to account,” said Mr Hide.
“I’m looking forward to mixing things up with Trevor on stage. I have a few scores to settle with that man, and I won’t be taking a backwards step.
“I’ve already told them there’s no way in hell I’m driving any Big Red Car.”
Wiggles management have also confirmed that no replacement for Purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt has yet been found.
United Future MP Peter Dunne had been considered for the role. However, band leader Anthony Field said he was worried that Dunne’s ability to send others to sleep with his dreary monologues about common-sense and moderation would confuse the audience, who have become so accustomed to the Purple Wiggle being the one to fall asleep during the show.
Mr Field, who is remaining as the Blue Wiggle, said he expected to continue as leader of the band until late in 2014.
“We’ve already got a replacement lined up,” said Mr Field.
“I can’t say too much, but I think people will be pleasantly surprised. It’s really not a huge departure from the work he’s been doing since 2008.”