Ryan Tubridy may not be the king of the singers, but the kids will be jungle VIPs on The Late Late Toy Show tonight.

The theme of this year’s show on RTÉ One is inspired by the 1967 Walt Disney animation The Jungle Book.

“I may not be king of the singers, but I hope that, for a couple of hours tonight, people will get a chance to settle down with the family and forget about their worries and their strife,” said Ryan.

This year’s show gathers together the biggest cast ever. Between performers and toy demonstrators, more than 320 children from all over Ireland will take part.

There are just 200 seats in the studio and more than 125,000 people applied for them. This year, everyone had to register to be included in a lottery for a ‘golden’ ticket.

Ryan said the show is all about good old-fashioned fun, but admits it is a daunting undertaking. The show is a “big juggernaut”, and he would certainly be nervous before going on.

 Ryan Tubridy speeds away from Niamh Mulvany.
Ryan Tubridy speeds away from Niamh Mulvany.

“I think the opening number always gives me cause for concern — largely because I have to sing and dance and try not to make a complete fool of myself,” he said.

Asked how he deals with being nervous, he replied: “I walk around the corridors, stomping them up and down, up and down and talking to people — talking gibberish and hoping that the show will start soon.”

Ryan will be wearing just one Christmas jumper on the show — he has around 15: “I will wear one jumper and a Christmas shirt that is really appalling.”

Series producer of the Late Late Show, John McMahon, said they decided on The Jungle Book theme at the end of last year’s show.

 Fionn McMahon, Leah Moore, Seanie McMahon, and Aron Moore, from Clare, and Bernard Lawrence, Castlebar, give Ryan a helping hand. Picture: Colin Keegan
Fionn McMahon, Leah Moore, Seanie McMahon, and Aron Moore, from Clare, and Bernard Lawrence, Castlebar, give Ryan a helping hand. Picture: Colin Keegan

Asked if the show was all coming together, Mr McMahon replied: “No, absolutely not. It always comes together by 9.35pm on the night, but that is as tight as it gets.

“It’s mayhem, but it’s great fun as well.”

One of the stars of the show is singer, Hannah McSweeney, 10, from Dillons Cross, Cork, who laughed when asked what Ryan was like.

“He’s really funny, and he is really crazy, and he is really annoying,” she said.


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