The countdown is well and truly on to the most magical night of the year.
On Friday, November 24, Patrick Kielty will have the eyes of the nation on his as he hosts his very first Late Late Toy Show.
From where to watch and what to expect, we’ve listed everything you need to know ahead of the big event.
Where and when?
The Late Late Toy Show is set to air on Friday, November 24 at 9:35 pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.
Not to worry, this year’s show will be available to watch worldwide live on the RTÉ Player on both the desktop and the app. So, no matter who you are, you can stream for free.
What’s the theme?
As always, the theme of the Toy Show is kept firmly under wraps, with not so much as a hint given to the public until the set is revealed on the morning of the show.
In the past, the show’s creators have taken inspiration from popular children’s stories, jumping from Disney hits such as The Jungle Book and The Lion King, to the imaginary tales pulled from the wonderful world of Roald Dahl.
As for this year, your guess is as good as ours!
Which toys will be featured?
Every year, toys are kindly sent in from toy retailers all around the country, and the toys demoed by children on The Late Late Toy Show are donated to charities across the country in time for Christmas.
Who will be there?
Going by the latest ad, it seems that Kielty has touched base with the children of Ireland to confirm his toy show essentials. As well as providing lots of music and dancing, it looks like he’ll be welcoming an army of toy testers to bring the magic of the Toy Show to all corners of the country and reveal the most trendy new toys of the year.
As always, details of the show are being kept under wraps, but famous faces have previously been a staple of this annual show. Whether it be Dermot Bannon or Davy Fitz, it’s always amazing to see a child’s face light up at the sight of their favourite personality.
Ed Sheeran was a decent surprise too.
Really, though, no celeb stands a chance of stealing the spotlight from the real stars of the night: the kids.
Children from across the country auditioned to be performers, entertainers, and toy testers – and they always stake their claim as fan favourites. Who could forget horology enthusiast John-Joe Brennan? Or Sophia Maher, who spoke about her experience with bullying?
Kids are an essential ingredient to making the magic of this show.
When did it all begin?
The Late Late Toy Show began in 1975 as a half-hour slot at the end of The Late Late Show as a way to give parents across Ireland some Christmas gift ideas while their children were sleeping.
Quickly, it grew into a one-night show in its own right, complete with child toy-testers and performers.
First presented by Gay Byrne, the mantle was handed to Pat Kenny in 1999, and remained in that position for 10 years. Ryan Tubridy took over in 2009 and held the position for an incredible 14 years. 2023 will be Patrick Kielty’s first time in the role.
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Sadly, Gay Bryne passed away following a long illness at the age of 85 in 2019. Reflecting on Gay’s legacy as both a broadcaster and national treasure, Ryan Tubridy told the press that we owe a lot to the original host:
“It all started with Gay and on the night of The Toy Show, Gay transformed into Uncle Gaybo for the nation,” he says. “I remember sitting down myself and watching him at home and the excitement at seeing this Toy Show man in action.”
“Gay was doing the show in the 70s – and since then, it has taken on this almost mythical status as the one show of the entire year that you simply cannot miss.”
This is Pan Collins. Pan came up with the idea of the #LateLateToyShow when she pitched the item to Gay Byrne as a researcher in 1975. Now an annual event on @rte that Irish people around the world tune into. Let’s raise a glass to Pan tonight 🥂 pic.twitter.com/qizYBSxgiG
— Alan Swan (@alanswan) November 25, 2022
Who is tuning in?
Last year’s Toy Show welcomed an average audience of 1.6 million, making it RTÉ’s most watched programme of 2022.
Traditionally the most-watched show of the year, the annual Christmas extravaganza is a must-watch for all the family.
In fact, according to a survey published by Jurys Inn, 40% of Irish millennials have listed watching the Toy Show as their fondest throwback to their youth.
Basically, the Toy Show is for just about everyone – even Russell Crowe tunes in!
Doesn’t matter where you’re from, if you have a kind soul and an open heart you’ll appreciate how wonderful this tradition from Ireland is.
The #latelatetoyshow looking for toy testers !! https://t.co/np81ibqhxb
— Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) August 10, 2020
Full of incredible characters, knockout performances, amazing surprise guests, toys, gifts (there’s one for everyone in the audience), everyone is invited to be part of the most phenomenal night.
Get the snacks and Christmas jammies prepped, it’s time to be Toy Show ready…
The Late Late Toy Show airs on RTÉ One & RTÉ Player on Friday, Nove 24 at 9:35pm.