Tubridy conscious of homeless children as he launches the Toy Show auditions

Tubridy conscious of homeless children as he launches the Toy Show auditions
Pictured at The Late Late Toy Show Auditions in Cork with host Ryan Tubridy was Robert Keane and David O'Donnell from Castlegregory, Co Kerry. Picture: Cathal Noonan

Irish people have an "innate sense of decency" and were shocked and horrified at the picture of a five-year-old boy who was shown eating off cardboard on the streets of Dublin, according to RTÉ Late Late show host Ryan Tubridy.

Launching the regional Toy Show auditions in Cork, Ryan said he was "very moved and upset" at the picture of the boy they are calling Sam.

"I spoke to the woman who took the picture on the radio this morning and they are just people who started the homeless street cafe a few years ago when they were at a party and had too many sandwiches left over.

"They went down with all their food (and gave it to the homeless.) They said that you can't unsee what they saw that night.

"They have been going there with friends every Tuesday since. The worst thing is that they are outside a shop in Grafton Street doing the soup kitchen for kids and adults. That is just grim."

Ryan believes there is a responsibility in a programme like the Toy Show to remind people in a gentle way of how fortunate they are to have a roof over their heads.

"I would like to be reminded. 'Aren't you lucky? You have got a pillow and a bed and a roof and a kettle.'

"It is just pause for thought. Not a big preachy thing. Just a little 'see what you can do.'

We mentioned Focus Ireland on the radio and TV on Friday and the machine crashed because so many people were trying to donate.

"We are going to tap in to (the innate decency of Irish people) because we help give a voice to people who don't have one."

Ryan said he spoke to a homeless person on the streets of Cork this morning and discussed his circumstances.

"I was walking to the Cork studio this morning and there was a homeless man. I spoke to this man about why he was on the street.

"And he said it was a 'family reason'. If we all stopped sometimes and said hello to people in this situation it brings a bit of humanity to what is an inhumane situation."

Meanwhile, a theme has been decided for the big night.

Ryan says the costume department have revelled in their annual ritual humiliation plot in terms of what he will be wearing for the Toy Show.

"I think the costume department sit around a cauldron plotting it (the ritual humiliation).

"You are going to be very happy with the outcome of their deliberations this year. "

Tubridy says he loves the transformation which occurs at this time of year when he becomes "the Toy man" rather than "Yer man from the Late Late show."

"The kids thing is beautiful. It heartens me and I then I try to harness that and beam it out of my fingertips in to the households of Ireland on the last Friday of November.

"It is a bonkers job and takes a bonkers person to do it."

Meanwhile, groups of talented children hoping to land a spot on this year's Late Late Toy Show auditioned at the Imperial Hotel today as the search for the show's performers kicked up a gear.

The performers invited to audition had been whittled down from over 5,000 applicants from all over the country who had sent their video entries to The Late Late Toy Show team.

Choirs, musicians, dancers and magicians lined the halls of the hotel ahead of their audition and met with Ryan, who offered words of encouragement before they went in.

Amongst the crowd was grandmother Eily White from Clonakilty, Co Cork who attended the auditions with her grandson Paddy who played guitar and sang "Rocketman" by Elton John.

Eily was delighted to receive a hug from Ryan Tubridy.

He is lovely with the kids. A total gentleman.

Further auditions for acts hoping to perform will be held in Dublin later this week.

Toy Show testers and book reviewers will also be chosen for the show in the coming weeks.

The unprecedented number of audition tapes is in line with a record number of applications for tickets for the show this year, with over 100,000 people entering over a week-long period.

From this week, viewers who want a chance to win a pair of tickets to this year's #LateLateToyShow can simply share their #ToyShowTraditions on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (by private message to RTÉ One or The Late Late Show Facebook page).

The Late Late Toy Show will air on November 29 on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.

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