The Late Late Toy Show starts at 9.35pm tonight on RTÉ One.
This year we’re going to a world of pure imagination with ‘The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl’ as our theme. Book-lover Ryan Tubridy describes this year’s set as: “this mind-blowing, head-melt of a dreamland for readers and for fans of imagination and childhood and dreamers and outliers and weirdos like me who just needed somewhere to go.”
Yes! You can watch the Late Late Toy Show for free anywhere in the world on the RTÉ Player. There’s even a section of the Toy Show devoted to children in other countries, which Ryan says is a “beautiful piece from around the world which I found very moving.”
The RTÉ Player and the RTÉ News channel will simultaneously broadcast live in Irish Sign Language with interpreters Amanda Coogan and Aisling Dragoi signing the live show from RTÉ Studio 6. An audio description version will also be broadcast on RTÉ One on Monday and will be available on-demand on the RTÉ Player.
Sadly no, not this year. There will be a virtual audience, however, and the team is using the space usually taken up by the audience to make the set even bigger. “Because we have no audience we have all this room to do something really special,” Ryan says.
Yes! RTÉ confirmed there will still be audience giveaways during the show for the virtual audience.
It’s not a Toy Show without kids playing. Ryan says he and the team “went through all the hoops we had to” to ensure children could be in the studio tonight. “Behind the scenes there’s an army of people making it Covid-compliant. We did that because we needed children in the show.”
There will be children performing in the studio tonight too. Ryan revealed he’s joining them in two live performances: “The opening number, and there’s a second song and dance, God help you all.”
There will be “heaps” of them, Tubridy says. “Yes, Irish toys, out the door as much as possible will feature on the programme and Irish toy shops are critical to the effort this year.”
More than likely. While they don’t plan to dwell on it, Ryan says every child who applied to be on this year’s show mentioned it in their application. “We won’t hide behind the Christmas tree on that one but we won’t go heavy on it either because it isn’t about that but we’re not going to pretend it hasn’t existed. We’ll be doing it with a twist of seasonal silliness because we’re allowed.”
There might be a few surprises, Ryan says. Although, he points out that often a child’s hero is in no way famous. Remember when Tom was surprised by his Nanny Pat last year? “We would expect a little bit of involvement from our friends in the showbiz world or thereabouts. Sometimes the biggest stars in a child’s life have never been on TV or radio or movies in their lives,” Tubridy says.
Absolutely, it’s the only thing we can guarantee this year. Ryan too admits the show has become more about its child stars than about the toys they play with. “Last year there was a lot of tears and that was before a pandemic. The Toy Show has evolved into something that’s as much about toys as it is, more really, about children.”
Apart from the toys, the kids, the singing, the dancing, the heartache, the hope? Probably a few wonky Zoom connections, a lot of muted mics and Ryan’s cringy-but-cool fashion choices. “I have four jumpers lined up for the show itself, I have shirts and cardigans as options. It’s a deeply upsetting experience, sartorially,” he promises.