Memory Lane | 

The Late Late Toy Show: The greatest moments through the years

The Late Late Toy Show returns this Friday at 9.35pm on RTÉ One and the RTÉ Player.

Ryan Tubridy hosts the Late Late Toy Show this Friday

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

The Late Late Toy Show returns to our screens this Friday, officially kicking off the festive season with tots, toys, and tons of fun.

With just one day to go until the biggest Irish TV spectacle of the year, we've taken a trip down memory lane and had a look back at some of our favourite moments in Toy Show history – from heartwarming reunions to hilarious toy testers.

Adam and Kayla Burke are reunited with their army dad, 2017

Brother and sister Adam and Kayla, from Midleton in Cork, appeared on the show in 2017, where they spoke about their sergeant dad Graham who had been stationed in Mali for six months.

The Toy Show team pulled on the heartstrings of the nation when they arranged for Graham to surprise his kids as they unwrapped a giant box that he was hiding inside.

Even Tubs couldn’t hold it together when the family were reunited, and little Adam didn't leave his dad’s side after his big entrance.

JohnJoe Brennan the horologist, 2009

JohnJoe Brennan became one of the most iconic (and precocious) kids in Toy Show history when he told Ryan that he wanted to be a horologist when he grew up.

From Roscommon but living in Paris, the ambitious eight-year-old had viewers in stitches when he examined Tubs’ timepiece and said: “It’s a very good mark, I suppose, next to Rolex.”

JohnJoe’s Toy Show appearance was received so well that it prompted fans to share hilarious music remixes of his interview at the time, while he was asked to return to The Late Late Show a few years later.

Toby Kane meets Girls Aloud, 2003

Wicklow native Toby Kane didn’t expect to be joined by his heroes, Girls Aloud, on the Late Late Toy Show stage when he demonstrated how to use a CD player by belting out a rendition of the girlband’s hit song Jump (For My Love).

In fact, the spiky-haired singer was so starstruck when the group surprised him that he couldn’t speak, quickly shaking his head when Kimberley Walsh asked him for a kiss.

He even looked like he might burst into tears when Pat Kenny asked him if he’d like to chat to Girls Aloud backstage – poor Toby.

Tom Cullen and Nanny Pat, 2019

Some kids receive surprises from household names Ed Sheeran or Katie Taylor on the Toy Show, others can’t contain their excitement when they see their grandparents on the RTÉ set.

Eight-year-old Tom Cullen was over the moon when his Nanny Pat came out on stage to give him a massive hug, delighting the audience as he gushed about her showstopping dinners and how he does jigsaw puzzles with her face on them.

He even wore a sweater vest knitted by the woman herself and had a matching one for Ryan to wear, making viewers wish that Nanny Pat was their granny too.

Lee Cooling reunites with his sister, 2019

RTÉ viewers were moved to tears in November 2019 when Lee Cooling from Dublin spoke about missing his sister Alex, who moved to Australia three years earlier.

And in one of the sweetest moments in the history of the festive special, Toy Show elves made magic happen and had Alex appear behind Lee as a surprise.

The young lad looked gobsmacked as the pair shared an emotional embrace before their mum and siblings joined them on stage.

Pat Kenny’s ele-phantastic grand entrance, 2002

In what can only be described as a peak Celtic Tiger moment for the Late Late Toy Show, Pat Kenny entered the studio on an elephant to Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights (otherwise known as The Apprentice theme song).

The host, whose father was an elephant keeper at Dublin Zoo, introduced the animal as Max, who RTÉ borrowed from Circus Vegas for the evening.

Kenny’s discomfort was a sight to behold, making it one of the most bizarre Toy Show opening numbers of all time.

Dermot Kennedy surprises Michael Moloney, 2020

The 2020 edition of The Late Late Toy Show was an emotional affair for a variety of reasons, one of which was the sweet moment Dermot Kennedy surprised performer Michael Moloney by singing a duet with him.

The Mayo teen was singing a version of Kennedy’s hit single Giants dedicated to his late father Emmett when the chart-topper joined in – and Michael couldn’t believe his eyes.

The “magical” moment was made even sweeter when Kennedy gifted the aspiring musician a day session at Windmill Lane Recording Studios in Dublin.

Alex Meehan has no craic, 2012

Alex Meehan from Co Louth managed to win viewers over in under a minute when he drove onto the Toy Show set on a green tractor wearing a farmer’s cap and a Christmas jumper.

When the shy five-year-old unexpectedly showed off his cúpla focail, Ryan was impressed and attempted to continue the conversation by asking: “Any craic?”

And in a fantastic TV moment, Alex simply replied, “Níl”, and drove off, leaving a bewildered Tubs behind.

Ryan Tubridy swears live on air, 2020

Viewers were left in shock when Ryan Tubridy appeared to swear on live television after getting sprayed by a fizzed-up bottle of Fanta.

The hilariously awkward moment was widely shared online, with many claiming that the slip-up was the “highlight” of their night.

While many insisted that Tubs accidentally blurted out “f**k sake” as he spilled the beverage over himself, he has since clarified that it was in fact a “b-bomb”, not an “f-bomb” that he let slip.

Adam King’s virtual hug, 2020

No list of the best Toy Show moments ever would be complete without mentioning little Adam King from Cork, who stole the country’s hearts when he presented Ryan with his now-famous virtual hug, intended for his favourite hospital porter at Temple Street.

Adam, who has brittle bone disease, helped to raise thousands of euros for CHI Temple Street and Cork University Hospital with his ‘A Hug For You’ cards inspired by his Toy Show appearance.

Pat Kenny tears up Toy Show tickets, 2008

While technically not a Toy Show moment, the time Pat Kenny ripped up two tickets to that year’s Toy Show is definitely deserving of a mention.

The presenter tore up the golden tickets in frustration after a competition winner turned them down, much to the shock of everyone in the studio.

Audience members were equally horrified that the caller was uninterested in the highly sought-after tickets and that Kenny destroyed them, but all was forgiven when he gave a further two tickets away on his radio show the following week.

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