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Joy show Deirdre Reynolds: Toy Show was more than we ever could have ho-ho-hoped for

RTÉ's spectacular Toy Show raises €5.2 million for kids' charities


Tubs giving it his all for the children

Tubs giving it his all for the children

Tubs giving it his all for the children

What on earth did we do to deserve this year's Toy Show kids?

The annual Late Late spectacular lit up small screens on Friday night - and it was more than we could ever have ho-ho-hoped for.

While the grown-ups spent the week bickering over Supreme Court judges and mourning Maradona, the heroic group of youngsters were busy perfecting their TikTok dance moves and speed-reading the top children's books for Christmas ahead of the biggest night of the year on Irish television.

Can we just disband the 33rd Dáil right now - and put Saoirse, Michael, Adam and pals in charge?

RTÉ's most tear-jerking Toy Show to date raised a staggering €5.2 million for children's charities nationwide.

But it was the incredible display of resilience from today's so-called 'cotton wool kids' that had grown men and women digging deep for the hankies.


Ryan does fantastic job on Toy Show

Ryan does fantastic job on Toy Show

Ryan does fantastic job on Toy Show

Changing out of my jammies for a Teams meeting has possibly been my greatest achievement of 2020.

Amazing Saoirse Ruane used lockdown to relearn how to walk after losing her leg to cancer in March.

At just eight, the Galway schoolgirl has overcome more than most of us will in our lifetime, and deserves to enjoy every single millisecond of the dream trip to Disneyland she was surprised with on the show.

There were no flashy toys, extravagant audience giveaways, vowel-squeezing performances or megabucks cash prizes.

Instead the down-to-earth Toy Show delivered the one thing you won't find on shelves when non-essential shops reopen on Tuesday: the much-needed gift of perspective.

Take national heartmelter Adam King from Cork, who didn't ask Santa for a PlayStation 5 or iPhone 12 mini, but instead to be reunited with his favourite porter at Temple Street Children's Hospital, where he's treated for brittle bones. The pure joy on the six year-old's face at seeing frontline worker John Doyle from a social distance in the Montrose studio put Ireland's pathetic mask whingers to absolute shame.

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When he came back out to collect his teddy bear Bubby from the set, like viewers around the world, I was a complete goner.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Ryan Tubridy earns every cent of his near-half million salary during the Toy Show.

At one point during the perilous live production, the presenter became dangerously entangled in a deflated dinosaur. In the end, it was an explosive bottle of Fanta that tripped him up when he dropped the F-bomb during the special.

Things also got a little foxy during the Roald Dahl-themed show when the host began comparing Kevin the Carrot sizes.

"Some people like little carrots," he wink-winked for the benefit of mammies and daddies at home.

"Some people prefer something a little more substantial," he continued of Aldi's hit range of plush toys.

To be honest Tubs, at this stage I'll take what I can get. For all the real-life 'Karen' the Carrots out there, little Garda Matthew McHugh was on hand with a two-metre ruler to ensure there were no 'elf and safety' breeches on the night.

By the time young singer Michael Moloney was joined by his idol Dermot Kennedy during his rendition of Giants, and played on like a total pro, even Tony Holohan himself could have forgiven the star for giving the Mayo lad a great big hug.

Even future girl boss Annie McCann O'Brien declaring the death of print journalism - rubbishing Ryan's suggestion that her dad might be "that old" that he buys a newspaper - couldn't dampen the festive spirit.

Although, as seven-year-old Sam Moules from Wicklow demonstrated, learning how to start a fire or fashion slippers from a wild pheasant while wielding a homemade axe may not be such a bad idea.

Train-mad Aidan Pinto from Cork and bookworm siblings Christopher, Fionn and Angela Purcell from Cavan were among the others to prove that, whatever about the adults, the kids are all right this Covid Christmas and beyond.

As the world awaits a vaccine rollout, for now, let's all remember 10-year-old Noah Rafferty's wise words, 'Rock is the Best Medicine'.

Well, that and a Nerf gun loaded with hand sanitiser, obviously.

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