The Late Late Toy Show through the years

Since it first hit our screens in 1975, watching the Late Late Toy Show has become an Irish Christmas tradition. Its enduing presence makes the viewing of the show an annual event in most Irish homes. The show began as a half-hour slot at the end of ‘The Late Late Show’, designed to give parents an idea of what toys were in the shops for Christmas while their children were supposed to be asleep in bed. It soon became a one-night show in its own right, complete with children toy-testers and performers.
‘The Late Late Show’ was first presented by Gay Byrne. Pat Kenny replaced Gay Byrne as presenter in 1999 and remained in that position for 10 years. Ryan Tubridy took over in 2009.
The reach of the show is incomparable. For the last number years of the show close to three quarters of the available viewing audience have tuned in-last year (2020) the show achieved a reach figure of  77.09%. It is a prime example of how TV can bring people together and create strong cultural and emotional ties between people. The reactions that the show triggers on social media is also astonishing-the 2019 show was widely lauded on social media with #LateLateToyShow trending number one worldwide on Twitter on the night of the show.

The most interesting stat is that even with media fragmentation and huge changes in viewing behaviour (over the past 5 years in particular) viewing to the show on a TV set has remained solid. In fact the number of individuals watching increased by 11% when you compare the 2019 show to the 2009 show and increased by 17% when you compare the 2020 show against the 2010 show.


All Individuals. Consolidated ratings includes all viewing watched live or within 7 days of original broadcast to the main show on RTÉ One

The Toy Show is now more than being about about any one person or any one TV station-its an Irish institution. On Friday 26th of November, Ryan Tubridy will dig out his dodgiest Christmas jumper in order to kick off Christmas and host The Late Late Toy Show on RTÉ One.