The theme for this year’s Late Late Toy Show has been revealed

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The funnest night of the year is finally here, as the Late Late Toy Show airs at 9.35pm, but what’s the theme?

Photo by Andres Poveda

The Late Late Toy Show is back with a bang. Or should we say a roar? Because this year, the theme is The Lion King. The idea is for children all around the country to let loose and rule the roost. After all, Toy Show night is traditionally their night. And host Ryan Tubridy urges viewers at home to let their wild side show:

“This isn’t just a theme; it is a movement. Every child can leave the house and leave the room and leave the kitchen and roam free in the jungle of their families because they are the boss tonight. So, it is the future, it is wild, and it is beautiful.”

Every year, the Late Late Toy Show hosts children from all backgrounds, inviting them to the iconic RTÉ Studio to test toys, show off their talents, and essentially run amok. With this year’s The Lion King theme, Tubridy himself will be performing two musical numbers, and promises plenty of costume changes. His opening performance is still very hush hush, but the presenter says anyone watching along needs to do so from the very beginning. There are twists and turns (and celebrity guests) at points throughout the night, so there’ll be no shortage of Christmas magic on Friday.



With the show coinciding with Green Friday, it’s unsurprising that the show’s host wants viewers to remember the importance of buying Irish. When it comes to the books and toys on the show, Tubridy says he “practices what I preach”, and will feature many Irish made products. He calls the independent shops that exist in towns and villages around the country “the heartbeat of the community”, and says they need the money from our support “in a way that Jeff Bezos doesn’t”.

One of the most beautiful facets of the institution that is The Late Late Toy Show is the charity appeal. Last year, the Irish public raised over six million Euro for national charities. Tubridy said the response was unprecedented, and that they “only ever expected €600,000, maybe €700,00”.  The money, he says, was all tracked after it was raised, and went straight to those who need it most. He said “almost 700,000 children benefitted from the kindness of Irish people.” The money donated meant “the difference between some children in Ireland having a meal in their belly before school that they wouldn’t have had”.

In some ways, the Toy Show marks the end of one year, and sets the tone for the next. With newfound, if cautious, freedom for the Irish people, this year’s theme is a reminder of the importance of “Hakuna Matata”. It means no worries, and with that at its heart – 2021’s Late Late Toy Show is set to be one to remember.

The Late Late Toy Show airs tonight, on Friday, 26 November at 9:35 pm on RTÉ One & RTÉ Player.