Christmas season starts in earnest as Tubridy unveils this year's toy show
A remote-control James Bond car, space-saving toys for apartment dwellers and the predictable doll with bladder issues will all make an appearance on tonight’s Late Late Toy Show.
Yesterday the finishing touches were being made to the show’s giant Shrek-themed set. Banked by a forest of Christmas trees, overlooked by a giant gorilla and encircled by a zoo of stuffed animals, it will stage the ratings juggernaut that has become the official start of Christmas for many households.
A Christmas-jumpered Ryan Tubridy was remaining tight-lipped about his geansaí of choice for the big night. “The search for the most disgusting jumper on the planet came to an end three weeks ago,” he said. “What I found is what I can only describe as a sartorial weapon of mass destruction.”
Of the jumper which will be auctioned after tonight’s show for St Vincent de Paul, he would only say, “It’s from a movie, I’m not going to tell you what it is, except to say that it is exceptionally disgusting.”
The four-time Toy Show host said while little viewers could expect to see the latest toys and gadgets, mums and dads might appreciate the reappearance of some favourites from Christmas past such as Cabbage Patch Kids and Furbies.
For the growing number of Irish children living in apartments, there will be some space-saving toys too. Demonstrated by children featured in the RTÉ documentary Apartment Kids, they will be reviewing toys that work in small places.
“We’ve got cars that climb up the walls, wall-mounted toys and we’ve even got a mat that you can put on the floor that plays the piano,” said Tubridy.
And with another austerity budget in sight, will there be some recession-busters too?
“Yes, there are plenty of toys that the elves won’t have trouble coming up with the cash to get for Christmas morning,” he assured.
With last year’s Late Late Toy Show the most watched show on television in 17 years, attracting an average of 1,414,000 viewers, Tubridy was keen to manage expectations.
“I think it will go down a little bit, that’s largely because they were so impossibly high last year,” he said. “Will it do it again this year? Not a hope.”
But with many families hunkering down before the budget and temperatures tonight set to hover at about six degrees, 2½ hours of escapism might be just the ticket.
For 12-year-old Emma Larney, who auditioned for her spot on The Late Late Toy Show months ago, there was just one more sleep.
“Rehearsals have been amazing, everyone is so excited,” said the singer and dancer from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.“It’s been hard work but we’ve all really enjoyed it. We all have the heebee-jeebees, but we’re really excited.”