Late Late Toy Show in numbers: 1.6m viewers, 320 kids, 1 terrible jumper

Jungle Book-themed programme will showcase 100 toys while 320 children get involved - and ad slots are €32,000 for 30 seconds

"It's a Mardi Gras of mind-bending stupidity. It's perfect." Ryan Tubridy talks about the theme of this year's Late Late Toy Show and playing host.


RTÉ may be planning to outsource all its children’s programming, but there’s one children’s show that they’re keeping in-house and that’s the Late Late Toy Show.

Will this year’s show dissipate the gloom that descended on Montrose after the news that the children’s programming department was told there’d be no Santa Claus?

RTÉ are certainly pulling out all the stops this year, with a Jungle Book-themed show that goes way beyond the bare necessities.

The opening number is the show’s most ambitious yet, says the show’s producer, Katherine Drohan.

“More than 60 students from IADT [Institute of Art, Design and Technology] Dun Laoghaire are working on special pieces to feature in the opening of the show,” she says.

“The giant characters they are creating will be an integral part of an opening that will stretch the limits of the Late Late Toy Show and the imagination.”


How many people will be watching tonight?

RTÉ is hoping this year’s show will beat the last couple of years’ ratings. The 2015 Late Late Toy Show pulled in a total consolidated audience of 1.56 million – that’s people who watched it live on the night, plus those who recorded it to watch over the following week.

It was the second most-watched Irish TV programme this century.

The most-watched programme? The 2014 Late Late Toy Show, which pulled in 1.59 million overall viewers.

How many kids will perform this year?

Over the past few months, the producers sifted through thousands of showreels, auditioned hundreds of kids, and narrowed the field down to 320 talented children who will strut their stuff in this festive extravaganza. The youngest is aged four.

The big opening number will feature 72 children (plus one presenter) – it’s too big to squeeze into the studio so, for the first time ever, the performance will go outdoors and into other areas of Montrose.

Will Ryan Tubridy actually sing?

We suspected that Tubridy may have been miming to All I Want For Christmas Is You on the trailer for the Late Late Toy Show, but Drohan says Tubridy will be channelling his inner Sinatra (or Luis Prima) to sing live on the show. Don’t worry – he has 72 children’s voices to help him.

How many Christmas jumpers will be worn on the show?

Just one Christmas jumper to rule them all, along with a “garish” Christmas shirt – both worn by the host.

How many people applied for tickets?

More than 100,000 people applied for tickets to this year’s Late Late Toy Show, says Drohan. Alas, only 204 lucky ones will get to be part of the most-envied studio audience on Irish telly.

Drohan can’t reveal what goodies will be given to everyone in the audience, but you can bet they’ll go home with enough to stuff several stockings.

How much are advertisers paying for a slot in the ad breaks?

According to Geraldine O’Leary, Commercial Director at RTÉ Television, advertisers will pay €32,000 for a 30-second slot during the Late Late Toy Show.

“We’re charging the same rates as last year, and there’s the same level of interest,” says O’Leary. “It will be the most-watched TV show of the year, so a lot of brands, from supermarkets to cars, will be looking to advertise.”

How many toys will feature on the show?

More than 100 different toys are lined up to be tried and tested on Friday’s Late Late Toy Show, but there probably won’t be enough time to get them all up onscreen, says Drohan.

After the show, all the toys will be donated to charity. Several hundred batteries will be on hand to power the toys – they’ll all be recycled for charity.

What about the decorations?

Several thousand fairy lights will decorate the studio, along with enough decorations to deck several halls. They won’t be put up in RTÉ’s attic, though, says Drohan, but will end up in needy families’ homes this Christmas.

How can I watch the Late Late Toy Show?

You can watch it on your telly by tuning in to RTÉ One at 9.35pm or, for the first time this year, you can watch it live from anywhere in the world for free.

No, RTÉ hasn’t taken over the world’s TV networks – you can watch it live on the RTÉ Player on your desktop, iOS or Android no matter where you are in the world. Even Santa can tune in from the North Pole.

“The fact that it is available to watch free across the world means that Irish emigrants get a chance to connect with their home in a way that is absolutely unique to us as a people,” says Tubridy. “Nobody else would understand what this bonkers show is about.”

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