Tubs and trials | 

Ryan Tubridy reveals Late Late Toy Show was almost axed over Covid fears

RTÉ presenter Ryan Tubridy will channel Fantastic Mr Fox for the eagerly-anticipated opening number of The Late Late Toy Show 2020.

Eoin Murphy

RYAN Tubridy has revealed that this year’s Toy Show is, in fact, an early Christmas miracle.

The presenter revealed that the annual feel-good bonanza was almost scrapped by RTÉ when the pandemic hit in March.

Tubs told how they had a different theme and line-up was chucked in the bin due to the coronavirus.

And he said that for the Late Late Show team to get a socially distanced show on the box this Friday was nothing short of a miracle.

The theme for the show has been revealed to be The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl.

“This Late Late Toy Show, it nearly didn’t happen,” he said.

“This was the toy show that nearly didn’t happen.

“And only for grit, determination, diligence and an absolute need to keep the show on the road from the Irish children at home and abroad, we wouldn’t be here today talking.

“We'd be running a movie.

“But we weren’t going anywhere, we weren’t having any of it, and we just had to keep going. We had a different theme picked and then March happened.

“We had a different plan ready to go and then 'lockdown two' happened.

“We've met speed bump after speed bump and we keep climbing over them to get to Friday night.

“This show is about determination and resilience and this show reflects in those words what Irish people have been about all year.”

There will of course be obvious changes to the show that heralds the unofficial start to Christmas.

The first most obvious change will be the absence of the tipple happy, Christmas jumper wearing audience.

The other will be the absence of hugging or hand holding by host Ryan, as public health guidelines are strictly enforced.

Noelle Kinsella from Carlow will join Ryan for the opening number of The Late Late Toy Show 2020.

“There will be children in the studio,” he said.

“The set is magical and because there is no audience, we have all this room to do something really special.

“When the children come in you can imagine how Covid friendly it is going to be.

“It is Covid compliant and behind the scenes there is an army of people making it equally Covid compliant.

“There will be social distancing - so there won't be masks required.

“You will be able to see them smile.

“What I will say, and this is very disappointing for me, is that I won’t be able to go in and give them a hug if they are in trouble or hold their hand if they get nervous.

“Which is the most natural thing in the world to do if you have a child looking at you asking what should I do.

“I will have to work on my socially distanced empathy and keep them on board. That’s my job.”

Ryan hopes that this will be the only thing that will separate this year from previous, pre-Covid years.

There will be celebrity guests, precocious children and a touching tribute to Gay Byrne and his Christmas jumpers past.

Of course, with every Toy Show there is a theme and this year it is the Wonderful World of Roald Dahl.

This will be celebrated in the opening number which will Tubs transformed into the cult hero The Fantastic Mr Fox.

“I think Roald Dahl is a perfect choice actually because the world isn’t simple and the world isn’t a fairy tale,” he said.

“The world is magical and rewards goodness and kindness and beautiful children.

“And in the middle of a pandemic, he is the perfect choice because he gets it.

“Roald Dahl always understood that children were beautiful and adults should be taken on a case-by-case basis.

“They're tall, they’re angular, they poke their finger, they’re always looking down their nose because they’re adults.

“That's just a matter of physiological fact.

“But they’re also troublesome and children get that; he got that.

“So I think he is the perfect choice.”

The Late Late Toy Show on RTÉ One Friday night at 9.35pm.

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