He might not be expecting a record breaker, but interest in The Late Late Toy Show is almost at fever pitch as more than 120,000 people applied for the just 200 Golden Tickets for tonight’s show.
Last year a record 1.4m viewers tuned in for the annual event, which for many families signals the start of Christmas, but host Ryan Tubridy feels this feat might be impossible to top — although it would be nice.
“I don’t think that’s realistic at all,” said Tubridy when he and a group of children met the media on the Toy Show set yesterday.
“Because it went through the roof last year, I don’t think it would be realistic of me to say we will do better than that.”
However, he admitted that it would be “delightful” to get close to the magic figure again.
Last year’s production had the highest number of viewers in 10 years and was the most watched programme of the year.
Another record-breaker is possible with the Late Late Toy Show team pulling out all the stops to make tonight’s show a memorable production.
The show will feature a record number of children — 269 performers and toy testers. The toy count has reached new levels too — 200 toys will be featured and more than 300 used for the set design.
All of the toys will be donated to charity following the show.
Tubridy himself will be hot stuff on the night — he will wear not one but four jumpers at different stages during the show, all specially hand knitted.
The knitters are Helen O’Sullivan Murphy, Killorglin, Co Kerry; Fiona Meagher, Aherla, Co Cork; Patricia Wynne, Gory, Co Wexford; and Concepta Davidson, Athy, Co Kildare.
However, the knitters will not get a chance to see their work in person as there were 120,000 applications for the 200 tickets for the two-hour show.
This year’s show will be “truly scrumptious” with the theme based on the iconic musical film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
There will be no child catcher although Tubridy did want one. “I though it would add a soupçon of terror,” he said.
Then, he thought, no, there would be children watching!
Tubridy, who will be loosely playing the role of Caractacus Potts and attempting to sing three songs in one.
“When I started doing the toy show I was not involved at all other than jumping out of a box. Then I was asked to do a bit more.
“The singing and dancing, which started last year in earnest, was always a good idea.
“Well, it was in August but now not so much because it is really hard.
“Singing is not easy and dancing is even harder. I have two left feet!”
Asked if he was one of almost half a million viewers who watched TV3’s Toy show last Friday night, Turbridy said that he was not, although he had intended to.
“I was going to watch it on Saturday and then stuff happened.”
“I only have an interest in one toy show — the Late Late Toy Show,” he said firmly
Tubridy, who has been presenting The Late Late Toy Show since 2009, said he hoped to do many more toy shows and even has plans for next year’s show.
“I have it right down to the beginning — the point when the child is singing the opening line and where I come in.”
And like veteran RTÉ presenter, Gay Byrne, who pioneered the toy show, Tubridy will be tucking into a plate of egg and chips before it starts. “It’s tradition,” he declared.
In fairness, the Toy Show is all about tradition.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved