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As it happened: The Late Late Toy Show

“There’s a dancing Mickey for everyone in the audience.” Here’s how it went down…

YES, IT’S THAT time of year again.

Strap in to your Christmas jumpers and disable your irony function, because the Late Late Toy Show is here.

Here at we liveblogged every toy, every gag, and every piece of dubious knitwear.

Here’s how it went… You can join the discussion too – post a comment below, or tweet us at @dailyedge.

Note: the image at 23.33 was the brainchild of Michael McGlynn.

Evening everyone! Yes, we know the news is still on, but we couldn’t wait. Is it just our imagination, or is Eileen Dunne racing through it a bit?

She’s probably wearing a Christmas jumper under that get-up.

And speaking of Christmas jumpers: Tubridy may be refusing to reveal his ahead of time, but I’m not shy.

Is it just me, or is it warm in here?

So, what do we need to know before we get going? Well, R-Tubz has told us that tonight’s show will be ‘loosely based on Shrek’ and will contain a “special section for children living in apartments”. Not sure if those two things are related, but whatever.

RTÉ Ten gave us a first look at the set earlier – there’s a video here. It contains a hilarious interview with a girl wearing a pig nose. But the main thing is, the set looks like the Faraway Tree vomited.

OK, we’re seeing a taster of the kids on the news here. And they’re ALREADY singing I’m A Believer in an unbearably cute way. Holy God.

Have we all got everything ready? If you’re not already in your jammies, NOW IS THE TIME.

For the adults among you, the good folks over at Pass Me A Mineral have prepared this rather excellent Late Late Toy Show Drinking Game. Sample drink points:

The batteries are dead in a toy even though “it worked in rehearsals”.

The camera spots a middle aged man in the audience that looks mortified to be dressed up as an elf.

Tubridy insists on singing.

And so on. Get yourself a nice cuppa and join in. You probably shouldn’t do it with actual booze, because (a) we can’t encourage that kind of carry-on, and (b) you’d be in another world by 11.45pm. Trust us.


The Billie Barry kids are upon us. If nobody moves, perhaps they won’t attack.

Tubridy is here, following the Shrek-based musical number. And he is wearing a HELLUVA Christmas jumper. I speak as a connoissieur.

He’s also got one of those funny little wand microphones. Do they use those anywhere else, except for the Late Late Toy Show? They’re probably made by a single old man, in a workshop somewhere in Co Laois.

R-Tubz is already singing the James Bond theme tune. I can almost see the desperation in his eyes. Ten to twelve must seem a very, very long way away.

First child! This is where it gets real. It’s Lucas, 4, from Dublin, and he’s already chasing Tubs with a sword. A star in the making.

“I’m trying to break into the castle,” says Lucas.

“But why can’t you just break into the castle?” asks Tubridy.

You literally would not get this dialogue anywhere else. This is what makes Ireland great, people.

“What?” was Lucas’s last word on stage. I don’t want to jump the gun here, but I think Lucas MAY be Ireland’s new sweetheart.

“You push some buttons and it talks,” says either Aoife or Orla (I got them mixed up. Sorry Aoife and Orla!) about the Iron Man mask. Think she may have just summed up modern civilisation.

“I like that. It’s demonic.” This is why Ryan is much better at the Toy Show than Pat. Pat would have just stared at the thing in terror and brought on a member of Westlife.

Jedward are here. Of course they are. It wouldn’t be the Toy Show without Jedward, would it? Would it? Can we just all try and get through this?

First musical number. Ryan has run backstage to down a pint of Berocca while Late Late researchers towel him down and shout encouragement in his ears.

“There’s a dancing Mickey for everyone in the audience.” THESE WORDS WERE JUST UTTERED ON LIVE TELEVISION.

Now we’re with young Nessa. Nessa is dressed as a magician, and she is wrecking the gaff, with her radio mic trailing on the ground behind her. She also has possibly the best laugh since… well… ever. Nessa rules.

With Nessa’s maniacal laugh still ringing in our ears, we’re into the first commercial break.

Is it time to revisit some greatest hits? It probably is. And what hit could be greater than John Joe Brennan, future horologist and possibly Nessa’s only rival in the Late Late Laugh-Off:


We’re back, and straight into a musical number. This time it’s Jessie J whose tune is being… reimagined. Great old show from the kids, but there’s something a bit weird about it.

Is it the awkward shots of the audience members in elf costumes doing ‘urban’ hand waving? Yes, I think it might be.

Keeva is remaining positive about the elf-costumed audience. Perhaps we should all take a lesson from Keeva.

Ronan Murphy, 7, from Cork, has just blasted Tubridy in the torso with some kind of dart gun. Good man Ronan.

This would never have happened on Gay Byrne’s watch.

Ryan Tubridy is now forcing this child to giggle incessantly. I’m pretty sure this is the same thing they do to prisoners of war.

Is this the first toilet-based toy of the evening? I think it might be. It’s a doll that pees in a potty, and also talks.

We’ve also got a … fox? … that opens and closes its eyes to fix its demonic gaze upon you. This must be the show’s traditional ‘Parents of Ireland, These Are Your Future Nightmares’ segment.

We’re totally on board with this.

Has R-Tubz broken his wand-mic? It’s looking distinctly crooked. That’s what you get when you mess with Ronan and high-speed projectiles.

That said, the old guy in Laois is going to be mad. That’s another wand-mic he has to crank out before 2013.

The transport toys all look fairly amazing, but you’d be a bit disappointed with the speed of some of them. I mean, there you are, sitting in your spiffing kid-sized Mini Cooper, and it barely outpaces your baby brother’s pushchair? That’s got to sting.

Here are X Factor finalists Union J.

This segment got a heavy trailing on RTE Ten earlier. An X Factor finalist boy band will be appearing, we learned! Surely it must be One Dir… oh, it’s Union J.

“We don’t need international stars,” Ryan said, twisting the knife in the heart of the poor Union J boys. God love them. Your man on the right is holding his stuffed hedgehog with admirable dignity.

Back to the commercial break. How’s everything in the living room at home? Everyone coping with the pressure OK?

We ran an open thread for your Late Late memories earlier today, and recent emigrant Lorraine Brady wrote:

I moved country in September…and this is one of the first times I’ve felt properly home sick…like I’ve missed my family and friends obviously but now I just miss Ireland and home…watching the Toy Show was the highlight of every child’s year! Getting to curl up on the sofa, being insanely jealous of the kids that got to be on it! And even as you grew up you still watched it because for almost 2 hours it lets you relive your childhood and really remember the excitement and feeling that Christmas used to bring when we were small.

It looks to us like the RTÉ Player is down – we can’t make it work anyway – so people abroad may be missing the visuals. Hope you’re here with us on the liveblog, Lorraine!

Continuing our series of Toy Show days of yore… remember the Pat Kenny era?

Observe the fear and hatred in Pat’s eyes as he asks this girl about her favourite band. He’s thinking about going home after and scrubbing himself down with wire wool.


Ah, now we’re doing ‘toys for kids in apartments’. Which seems to consist mainly of things that fold up. We were hoping it was going to be things which would let you bungee-jump off the balcony.

In their favour though, the two kids HAVE done a rap. And Ryan’s got a new wand from the prop department, so he’s probably feeling a bit more relaxed.

We’re losing people here.

But we’ll be staying until the bitter end. Even if it kills us. Which it may, if it doesn’t kill Ryan first.

Young Angel (I’m not being weird, that’s her real name) is now demonstrating a ‘soothing spa’ toy. It’s painfully obvious that neither she nor Ryan has the slightest idea of what to do with it, but they’re both carrying on like troopers.

“It’s very relaxing, isn’t it,” lies Ryan, as he wonders whether his pulse has broken the 200 mark yet.

There was a brief moment there when Ryan was wearing a pink tutu, but it ended all too soon. Everything beautiful dies.

Now they’re mixing up a strange frothy concoction in someone’s brain. It’s basically exactly like an editorial meeting for Nationwide.

Everyone in the audience has now been given a €150 Woodies DIY gift card. When the camera swoops over them, you can see them wondering “Am I at the point yet where it was worth dressing up in an elf suit?”

No easy answers, people. All we’re saying is, you’ll still have to face yourself in the mirror tomorrow morning.

Another ad break.

Apparently in 2009, a 30-second advertising slot during the Toy Show cost €17,000 – around twice as much as one during the Champion’s League final.

What I’m saying is, your eyes have just absorbed, ooh, €60,000 or so? How does that feel? Does it hurt?

We’re now seeing some kind of computer game involving magic, and the producers are going all out with a sort of four-way split screen affair.

Frankly, I’m confused, my brain is already feeling pretty much like a four-way split screen, and this isn’t helping.

Ryan just gave everyone in the audience a €150 Argos gift card, and THEN hit them with the old “Are you having a good time?” smackeroo.

Emotional blackmail, see? What a pro.

Rapping appears to have been made mandatory for all of this year’s performances. We’re imagining that decision came from the very top in RTÉ.

And we’re back to the toys. “It’s just like tattooing someone” says a ten-year-old confidently about one she’s demonstrating.

Now they’re making three dolls have a girl-fight.

AH HEEYOR. LEAVE IT OUHHHH. One of them just said that. OK, I’m setting my reservations aside. These ten-year-olds are awesome.

They also have a dollhouse which contains (a) a flushing toilet, and (b) Harry Styles. Not sure quite what to do with this information.

Another commercial break. But that’s OK – we’ve already got our first Toy Show 2013 meme courtesy of @AnTaobhRua:

WHOA. We are back, and in the middle of a musical number that is some kind of demonic blend of trad, breakdancing, Salt N Pepa’s ‘Push It’, and ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’.

Imagine if you got the average weekday on VH1, mixed it with Come West Along The Road and then mashed it into your brain with a domestic kitchen blender. That’s kind of what this is like. Well done all.

Aha! The ‘mortifying audience competition’ segment. I’ve been waiting for this.

Two couples are competing to throw Velcro balls and make them stick to each other’s head. Actually, they look like they’re quite enjoying it. It changes people, the Toy Show does.

It’s not all bad being an emigrant, you know.

They’re coming in thick and fast now – this one from @EimearMcCormack:

Are we the only ones to notice a similarity?

OK, now we have Anton. “I know everything about James Bond,” he says. He’s backing it up, as well. When R-Tubz asks which Bond has kissed the most girls, he says:

Roger Moore. He’s kissed 20.

He also destroyed Ryan at Scalextric, which is all good in our book.

OK, the stage changing guys are DRESSED AS ELVES. Now that’s attention to detail.

Or maybe they dress as elves all year round, and this is the only time we see them? It’s like going into the Matrix, but with bobble hats.

We’re nearly at the end now. I think I can see the bags within the bags under Ryan’s eyes. He looks like a man who has seen things no man should see.

He’s going to be muttering “batteries… batteries” in his sleep tonight.

And just in case anyone was feeling pleasantly relaxed, we’re back with the Billie Barry kids. Tubridy is joining them on ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town’. Some of them are wearing those pig noses. Shrek is waving.

Is this even happening, or has the heat from this Christmas jumper got to me? I feel faint.

As it all draws to a close, Lynsey King makes an important observation:

Maybe they couldn’t afford his segment after Ryan broke the wand.

That’s all from the Late Late Toy Show, folks. There are now just 25 sleeps until Christmas. But that doesn’t matter, because I’m going to be lying in a darkened room for the next several days with a cold flannel on my head, trying to dodge imaginary plastic projectiles.

Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend!

More: ‘Spectacular performance’ to open this year’s Toy Show>

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