Tubridy to don the festive garb and sing a tune

RYAN TUBRIDY has not only bowed to pressure to wear a Christmas jumper on the Late Late Toy Show tonight but has also confirmed he will be belting out a song.

Admitting it’s a dream come true to present the show, Tubridy said the producers wanted him to sing because people needed something to laugh about.

“It will be mildly ridiculous but it is a kind of mildly ridiculous night, so we will have a go.

“It will be embarrassing but it will be wonderful too,” he said.

“Look, I am only singing a few lines, it’s a bit of craic; it’s silliness,” he stressed when asked if he would be dancing as well.

The presenter caused controversy recently when he hinted he might become the first host to break with the jumper tradition.

Previous hosts Gay Byrne and Pat Kenny wore a special Christmas jumper and Tubridy sparked debate on Twitter when he said it would be nice to wear something a little more comfortable under the studio lights.

“I have been sent the equivalent of the European jumper mountain to my office. I have seen the most disgusting jumpers known to mankind but I can assure your readers that I will be wearing a Christmas jumper and it will make me look even more ridiculous than I look on a regular Friday night. Yes, prepare for the worst,” said Tubridy, who also confirmed the jumper would be Irish-made.

The media were given a sneak preview in Donnybrook yesterday of the Studio 4 set at RTÉ.

Tubridy pointed out that, apart from the children, the other stars of the show would be Joe McElderry, winner of the X Factor last year, and the British pop band, McFly.

“While I am delighted they are coming, I am more looking forward to having the kids on the show. You have seen the set, it is magnificent. For me, work-wise, it is the most fun night of the year.”

Asked how he was going to cheer up people still recovering from the Government’s four-year austerity plan and dreading the December budget, Tubridy said he wanted the show to be a national distraction.

“I am acutely aware of what has been going on in the country, especially over the last four days where we seem to have hit rock bottom. We are kind of in an economic ‘ground zero’ situation. With that in mind, I can assure everyone that the toys we are going to be showing will have one eye on children’s happiness and the other eye on parents’ budgets.”

Tubridy said he was also acutely aware the country needed a laugh and needed a fun night away from everything.

“It just happens that the Toy Show falls on a Friday of a week that people wish hadn’t happened. So I think our job is to distract in some ways and also to put a much needed smile on people’s faces in this country because it is a sad place to be at the moment.”

Asked if Santa was registered for VAT and the elves were on a minimum wage, Tubridy said that as a reader of the Lapland Times, he understood from the business section that Santa had to lay off a number of elves in the last six months.

“With that in mind we are going to remind children that they should manage their expectations when writing their letters,” he pointed out.

Tubridy, who confirmed his two daughters, Julia, 6, and Ella, 10, would be watching the show, said he loved working with children.

“I love children. I prefer them to adults. They’re more interesting; they’re more fun; they’re more honest and they have got a better sense of humour than most adults I know and they are dark.

“I did not have great ambitions to present the Late Late Show — that just came about by circumstance really, but I did have a great ambition to present the Late Late Toy Show,” he confessed.

Toy Show facts

- The Toy Show has been an annual event since the 1970s and is regularly the most watched programme of the year.

- Advertising in 2009 cost €17,000 for a 30-second slot, compared with €9,750 for the 2010 UEFA Champions League final.

- The 2005 Toy Show attracted 1.1 million viewers and was also the most watched edition of The Late Late Show since Gay Byrne’s final show in 1999.

- Pat Kenny was criticised in a study by the Equality Authority for his hosting of the 2006 show, in which he persistently reinforced stereotypes of gender roles. An example was a human skull shown to ooze slime, of which the presenter uttered, “made for boys, I think”.

- In 2008, when a competition winner refused two tickets to the Toy Show as a prize, Pat Kenny tore them up live on air. Kenny questioned why she had entered the competition if she had not wanted to attend the Toy Show (the tickets were just part of the prize; also on offer was €10,000). In the aftermath, the winner, explained to a newspaper she had entered the competition “out of boredom” and had “no interest in watching children play with toys for two hours”.

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