Posts Tagged ‘Late Late Toy Show’

The Late Late Toy Show – Love it or Hate it?

December 1, 2022

Since it first hit our television screens in 1975, the Late Late Toy Show has become an Irish Christmas tradition.

The live two and a half hour programme hosted by RTÉ personality Ryan Tubridy, sees children from across the country play and talk about the toys that they currently love. For families, the Late Late Toy Show has always signified the official start of the Christmas season, with many rushing to have the tree up for the night.

This year more than 1.6 million viewers tuned in across the weekend to watch Tubridy’s portrayal of The Wizard of Oz’s Scarecrow, as well as Saoibh Lonergan, Lucy Hoban, Caillín Joe McDonald, Cuckoo’s Nest, Emmie O’Neill and Billy Brady and more make their Toy Show debut.

As it’s the most watched programme of the year, people tend to have strong opinions of the children’s show.

Starting with the man of the hour, love him or hate him, 2022 is Tubridy’s 14th successive year hosting the toy show. Over the past number of years, the toy show has seemed to reel away from live demonstrations of the toys, with the children almost accessories of the programme and Ryan being central to it. Not once this year was there a mention of how much the toys cost, where they could be purchased and who they would be perfect for – kind of taking away from the point of the programme.

There’s no question about the loyalty of the viewers with the Irish public raising over four million euro over the course of the weekend for the Toy Show charity appeal. Following its creation in 2020, the Toy Show appeal year on year raises huge sums of money for children’s charities around Ireland.

While the programme itself is undoubtedly entertaining, the live Twitter feed can’t be beaten. This year, even brands jumped on board with Ryanair and Aer Lingus competing for the likes as Aron Gibbons from Westport, Mayo gave a live flight demonstration on air. As you can see both brands took a very different approach, with Ryanair causing a few more laughs.

So, do you love it or hate it?

In a way this is an irrelevant question because however you feel about the show it attracts a huge audience and people love talking about it. I think the most important aspect of it from a marketing point of view is the consistency, and this consistency leads to nostalgia and it suddenly becomes something we all end up marking our calendar by.

Getting anyone to change their habits is a difficult thing to achieve, but once you do that it can result in a customer for life.

Creating a special event that you can recreate year after year (month after month, week after week or even day after day) to allow people to form a habit with you and your business mightn’t be the worst idea ever!

1975, RTE – “How about we do a Toy Show instead of our normal chat show?

I wonder who said yes, let’s do it!

Every nostalgic thing we do, had to have a first time...


Heather Lordan is Account Executive at Fuzion Communications, full service marketing and PR agency, with offices in Cork and Dublin.

Don’t be late for a Very Important Date! The Late Late Toy Show

November 26, 2010

I think I must have been around five years old. I know this because the two youngest siblings had not yet been born. I was lying in bed, dreaming my childish dreams when my father knocked on the door. He asked me to get up saying that he had a surprise and as I scrunched my face up to the light I heard him waking my sisters. The three of us walked to the sitting room where he wrapped a blanket around us and pushed the couch towards the fire. We were so small that we all fitted on one cushion of the couch while he sat next to us and turned on the television telling us we were in for a treat.


The credits rolled and we saw a studio packed with toys. We could not get over the amount of toys in one room. We nudged each other excitedly. Then Gay Byrne welcomed everyone, wearing his bright woolly jumper, to what would become the institution that is the Late Late Toy Show. For the next two hours we were mesmerised by the sheer spectacle of the show and the amount of fun everyone was having. We laughed whenever “Uncle Gay” had difficulty with the more technical toys. We were jealous of the extra talented child prodigies who played difficult pieces with great ease. We loved the special guests who demonstrated how toys worked, the games they played, the fun they had, while we chatted amongst ourselves about the toys we liked and wondered whether Santa would bring them for us.

The whole experience was added to by the treats our father brought to us every time an add break came on, having coke, taytos, chocolate and sweets that late in the evening was another first. When it was all over we plodded off to bed content and happy, dreaming of toys and of Christmas.

Uncle Gay

In the years that followed we grew older and wiser. Our childhood sense of wonder began to disappear. We still looked forward to the Late Late Toy Show, though it did not leave us with the same excitement as it did that first night over two decades ago. It still gave us a warm glow, no matter how much we pretended it didn’t.

Last night I asked my sister what she was doing for the weekend, she told me that her and her husband were putting down a big fire and staying in for the late late toy show. We’re celebrating ten years in business tonight so, I can’t do the same, though when the clock strikes 9:30, I’ll be thinking of all those children watching it.

The Late Late Toy show is an institution. It has seen Pat Kenny and now Ryan Tubridy as its presenters. They are faced with the same task that Gay Byrne faced years ago, that of moulding the minds of the young children who watch it.  That of creating a memory that will be remembered forever by the children (and adults, let’s face it! ) who watch it. For those few hours, there will be no talk of NAMA, or bank bonds or political squabbles and arguments. There will only be a sense of wonder at the world of possibilities, a sense that sometimes we all need to remind ourselves of from time to time.

So if you are tuning in this year, try to remember a more simple time in your life and enjoy it.

%d bloggers like this: