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'Radically different and Covid aware': Ryan Tubridy explains how the Toy Show will work this year

Tubridy will be hoping to host his 12th Late Late Toy Show later this year.

Ryan Tubridy at Dublin Airport last Christmas.
Ryan Tubridy at Dublin Airport last Christmas.
Image: Rollingnews.ie

LATE LATE SHOW host Ryan Tubridy has said this year’s Toy Show will be “Covid aware” but that there’ll “definitely” be children in the studio. 

The presenter was speaking at the launch of RTÉ’s autumn schedule and ahead of the return of the Late Late Show tomorrow week on 4 September. 

Tubridy will be hoping to host his 12th Late Late Toy Show later this year and says he believes it will be “the most important” one they’ve ever done. 

“For obvious reasons, the kids have been so good, they’ve had the weirdest year of their lives and I think it’s absolutely up to us to make the sun shine again and we are determined and excited.”

Tubridy said the Covid-19 world is “moving at such a pace it’s head spinning” and that it’s very possible that everything will change a week out from when the Toy Show airs.

It’s moving so fast that we’re watching really closely. The chances are that a week before the Toy Show they could say something like you can’t play with any toys that are made in Watford by Hasbro, whatever it might be. And then you’re going ‘oh god I’m gonna have to rework it’.

“We’re operating at the moment with the view to everything being socially distanced, everything being as we know it now in terms of Covid rules,” he added.

“I don’t anticipate anything changing between now and Christmas to be quite honest with you, I don’t see some sort of miraculous move towards people gathering.”

Tubridy said producers are thinking of ways to get Irish people abroad and their families involved this year’s Toy Show.

It’s changed some things for the better, so we can get kids from around the world to audition online now. I mean that’s unusual, but it’s allowed them to participate. So it’s going to be a radically different type of Toy Show.

“The opening is going to be radically different. We’ll still do a big number and we’ll still do something but it’ll just be a little bit Covid aware.”

Tubridy added, however, that there will definitely be some children in studio as part of the programme: 

Definitely, I mean there are ways and means around all of these things, and we’re going to find them, but I mean the thought of doing a toy demonstration on Zoom would just be too much for anyone.

“I mean my sympathy goes out to all the parents who have to homeschool, but to home Toy Show will be just a stretch too far. So no, we’ll get around it and we’ll do it all within guidelines that are set out by our betters, but yea we’ll definitely have people in studio.”

RTÉ issued an earlier-than-usual callout for Toy Show application this month and Tubridy revealed that producers received “something crazy” like 1,000 entries in 24 hours. 

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“There’s a hunger for the Toy Show this year that is very different and very for obvious reasons,” he said. 

No audience

The host says the idea of doing a Toy Show without an audience is “daunting” but that he doesn’t see an audience being on any edition of the Late Late Show “this side of January” either.

“My feeling and my input on the decision was that if people watching can’t meet up, why the hell should we? There was talk of maybe a small number gathering and I said I didn’t like that, I just think it’s all or nothing. When people at home can gather we will gather too.”

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Rónán Duffy

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