Green and red and watched all over

Ryan Tubridy and children in a scene from 'Mary Poppins'. Picture: Andres Poveda

You’ve got to hand it to Ryan Tubridy. A house with one excited child at Christmas is crazy enough, but the Late Late supremo handled 231 kids with ease, even throwing in a dance routine for good measure.

The biggest, brightest, and loudest Late Late Toy Show ever gave us a little bit of everything.

It was certainly the most impressive opening ever with a full-on medley from Mary Poppins.

Tubridy expressed fears he might “bottle it” for the much touted dance routine, but he managed a pretty stellar Dick Van Dyke routine that you could never have imagined Gaybo doing.

There was no sign of the famous Christmas jumper for the opening of the show, but it appeared after the first break. Introduced by the man himself as “a horror”, the green and red combo certainly looked the part.

The first truly ecstatic cheer of the night, however, came for the first “one for everybody in the audience” moment, as Tubridy announced everyone was going home with what looked like a 5ft-long Nerf Gun.

With that, the madness of the toy demonstrations kicked in as children from all over the country directed Tubridy through the whole show.

First up was five-year-old Aoife Burke from Carrick-on-Shannon in Roscommon, who looked like she had been on television for years. While the glare of TV studio lights turns adults into nervous wrecks, the Toy Show children always take it in their stride.

Aoife told Tubridy straight off the bat her favourite game was dodgeball, before expressing herself an animal lover. She listed off more animals than boarded the Ark and showed a wicked sense of humour by naming her pet pigs Rashers and Sausages. She then took him through the ABCs of the Doc McStuffin Check-Up Centre.

They say the hardest gigs in show business are children and animals, but Tubridy makes working with kids seem effortless.

Once again this year, he relaxed, enjoyed himself, had a laugh — and the children went with him.

None more so than six-year-old Charlotte O’Halloran from Glanmire in Cork, who launched herself into her demonstration with such enthusiasm, she looked like she would burst with excitement.

Charlotte howled with laughter as she took the audience through schoolbags that come alive, flying fairies, and an assortment of dolls. She even pulled out a few dance moves — doing the splits on cue, much to the delight of the audience.

A record 231 children from all over the country took part in the show, with the toy count also reaching record levels too — a total of 237 appeared in the show, with a further 100 used for set design.

Over an hour before the main event, TV3 gave it their best shot at taking on the institution that is the Late Late Toy Show.

Its 30-minute Christmas Toys show aired from Tattersalls Winter Wonderland in Ratoath in Meath and saw presenter Alan Hughes rattle through as many toy demonstrations as he could with a group of children that marked everything “10 out of 10”.

We had Furbys that fart “all the time”, seriously hi-tech etch-a-sketches, and every type of doll you could imagine — all in 30 minutes.

Although it lacked the production values that make the Late Late Toy Show the most watched show every year, it was a fun, gentle opener.

But Ryan Tubridy is still the master. Who knows? He may even have surpassed Gaybo.


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