Ryan Tubridy says he feels the weight of the nation’s “high expectations” on his shoulders ahead of the highly anticipated jungle-themed Toy Show tonight.
Last year’s show had its highest ever TV audience with 1.7 million viewers throughout the weekend.
As the host prepares for his rendition of Disney’s Lion King tonight, he has said he will embrace the classic cartoon’s “Hakuna Matata” (no worries) philosophy overnight.
Speaking on a tour of the jungle-inspired setting at RTE Studios yesterday, he told the Irish Daily Mirror: “I’m nervous, I have high expectations on my shoulders.
“People are sad, people are exhausted, tired, and they look at us saying ‘give us some color in our lives, brighten our day’ and that’s a big request because I don’t want to let go of them. people.
“So why the Lion King?” It’s fun, wacky, silly, and it’s a no-hassle philosophy, and it’s good enough for me.
In keeping with tradition, the evening will open with a performance number with Ryan and groups of young performers from across Ireland.
Giving a hint as to what viewers can expect, the 48-year-old presenter said he was doing everything he could to get the performance to “let go” fully after the friendly Covid show last year.
“The opening number is as you will see this crazy chaotic casket, and the second number is more polished.
“The beginning is very jungly, and the whole is very jungly, and the song is perfectly crazy.
“I think it’s a good start,” he said.
“Last year was Björk: It’s Oh So Quiet, and it was all very Covid-y, and this time, no, let go.”
The wonderful world of Roald Dahl and the fantastic Mr. Fox ruled the roost last year, in a year in which foxes roamed the empty streets freely when the pandemic began.
“We wanted the kids to experience the same freedom and fun at night,” said the host.
And despite the additional Covid measures put in place again recently, Tubridy said the show will always be full of Christmas magic in order to give the children of Ireland an unforgettable night.
“We maybe got a little head start because Michael Martin came down the stairs two weeks ago and we were going ‘oh no’, but we only took a step or two back, not a hundred not back, so it’s okay. “
After a year where children were restricted in playing and socializing with their friends, he continued, “We are, I am, upset by children in this pandemic, just when we thought children could not be. Most impressive and incredible, we’ve watched them and their resilience over the past couple of years.
“I think it’s about time we all had a little fun in our lives and we all deserve it. We have to do it a little more carefully than I thought, but it’s their turn.
“I always tell kids this time of year, kids are in charge. You are the boss now. For this night and this night only.
Toy testers and performers will flock from all over Ireland to participate tonight, with the youngest of the cubs just four years old.
As always, Ryan and the team on the Late Late Toy Show will have a few surprises up their sleeves – which he says will include elements from across the country and a few famous faces making an appearance this year.
Excluding Garth Brooks as a guest after his visit to Ireland this week, he said: “He’s a busy man, so we’re going to shop a little more local. There will be stars.
And after being seen recently filming a music video for the night in Dublin’s Ringsend, he added: “There will be many moments from across the country being shown.”
Tonight’s annual extravaganza known for its slogan “There’s One for Everyone in the Audience” will see the return of a live audience after having to go without it last year due to restrictions.
The broadcaster revealed he’s ready to welcome them with open arms, admitting he struggled to do so without them on last year’s high-energy show.
“Everything was very special. We haven’t had an audience for 18 months so it wasn’t really new to me but I’ve never done a Toy Show without an audience and very often the life and soul of the party to some extent.
“And I wasn’t sure how the show was really going until the first break when I said ‘are you okay? Are we still on the air ’cause it was so quiet.
“And because when you’re in need like me, you need a little bit of a step back and I was yelling at the men and women of the camera,” someone said something nice to me. “
“This year we have 50 people in the audience, which is a drop from 220, but from scratch it’s a big improvement and I think it will help me personally.”
The Toy Show Appeal is back for the second year in a row, after raising € 6.6m in much needed funds for Irish children’s charities last year.
Reflecting on the success of the initiative, the father of two believes the Toy Show has become much more than a ‘show’ in recent years: “
“It was an amazing time for me personally and for us as a program because we just didn’t know.
“If we had raised € 10,000 or € 100,000 that evening, we would have been quite satisfied.
“It was 6.5 million Irish euros in an hour and a half watching kids, toys and music.
“And we could see it was going all over the country.
“If I had to sum it up, it was the difference between some kids in Ireland having a belly meal for breakfast before school that they wouldn’t have had if the Irish hadn’t donated.
“They made a huge difference, the Irish. In the midst of a pandemic. Can you believe it? I’m still stunned. “
“I think it was a great story last year and it has an impact.”
Want the latest political news and analysis straight to your inbox?
Our brand new political newsletter brought to you by political correspondent Ciara Phelan explores the week’s big talking points to keep you up to date.
From exclusive interviews to highlighting the issues that matter to Ireland, we’ve got you covered.
Just sign up for our free newsletter here and we’ll do the rest.
He added: “It has ceased to be just a TV show and has become a lifeline for many children’s charities across the country.
“It’s just become one of the last terrestrial TV havens where people sit on the couch without their phones for a few hours and talk to each other about the show. And this is a rarity.
“And I hope that’s a good thing. I know I like to do it. I feel like it’s 3 and a half minutes. When the credits roll, I’m like ‘how could that- it be over, “that’s a real buzz.”
Teasing the action from the start of the show, he continued, “What I’m saying, don’t do the last minute.com, get there early, give yourself five minutes in your pajamas, that’s a snap and that you miss a kind of night.
The Late Late Toy Show will be broadcast on Friday, November 26 at 9:35 p.m. on RTÉ One & RTÉ Player.