Kielty 'knocks it out of the park' on emotional Late Late Toy Show debut

Kielty 'knocks it out of the park' on emotional Late Late Toy Show debut

PATRICK KIELTY'S Late Late Toy Show debut went down a storm on an emotional evening for the annual TV extravaganza.

Coming a day after the rioting that rocked Dublin, the show helped lift the nation's spirits as the host made children's Christmas dreams come true.

At times, Kielty himself got a bit emotional, while one guest — seven-year-old Sheamie from Co. Kildare — threatened to steal the host's thunder as he had the audience and viewers in stitches.

However, the Down man's first outing on the festive institution proved a resounding success with viewers and critics.

"Take a bow sir, absolutely knocked it out the park tonight! The first of many, many to come I hope!" SDLP councillor Malachy Quinn posted on Twitter.

Helen O'Rahilly, a former TV producer and executive who previously worked for RTÉ and the BBC, added: "The fabulous kids — front and centre — lifting spirits nationwide. RTÉ at its best — just when we needed it."

'Thinking of every family'

Just as he wasn't afraid to address the RTÉ payments scandal on his Late Late Show bow, Kielty almost immediately tackled the events in Dublin at the start of the Toy Show.

"Given the events of the last 24 hours, it is important to remember what this time of year is all about and that is holding your kids tight this Christmas," he said after the opening number.

"We are thinking of every family that needs an extra hug tonight."

Back to the business in hand, Kielty continued the Elf-themed edition of the show clad in yellow tights and assisted by his dancing chief elf, Elfis Presley.

As usual, the show saw kids test out some of this year's must-have toys as well as put on a series of stunning performances.

One such number also led into one of the show's trademark festive surprises as a group of Matilda super-fans performed the song Naughty from the hit musical.

As the number drew to a close, the fans were joined on stage by Toy Show alumnus Alisha Weir, who played Matilda in the movie version of the musical.

"You guys smashed it, you were amazing," she told the starstruck fans, some of whom were lost for words.

Sheamie steals show

One guest who wasn't short of something to say was Lego fan Sheamie, whose wit and wisdom beyond his years won over the audience and viewers at home.

"Before we start chatting now Patrick, do you mind if I say something quick to you?" he said.

"After today, now I met you, I was thinking to myself, 'I bet you didn't know you had something in common with an oul' seven-year-old from the country in Clare'.

"It's both our first Toy Show, Patrick!"

Sheamie had been testing Lego at home and revealed he had taken a day off school to build the sets, while his uncle had taken two days off work to help him.

Asked by Kielty where his uncle worked, Sheamie replied: "Well Patrick, I don't want to be saying something like that now because I don't want to be getting him in trouble."

He also told Kielty about his two younger siblings, describing his four-year-old sister as 'the drama queen' before adding 'and with the baby the trouble's only starting'.

"Sheamie, give me shout in a few years," replied Kielty.

"I think me and you could have a fair old night out with a couple of pints."

There were further surprises in store for some of the young guests, as sports-mad Stevie from Kilkenny was joined on stage during a rendition of Ireland's Call by rugby stars Peter O'Mahony and Bundee Aki.

"It's the best day of my life," said the seven-year-old, before being presented with a signed Ireland jersey and tickets for him and his family to watch Ireland v Italy in next year's Six Nations.

Meanwhile, Kielty surprised 11-year-old horse lover Freya with a trip for her and her family to cheer on the Irish equestrian team at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

'Kielty's saved Christmas'

While some of his young guests were overawed, it was Kielty who got emotional as the show drew to a close.

He had earlier surprised Toy Show super-fan Sophie, 8, from Tipperary at a viewing party before having her whisked to the studio.

Her only Christmas wish had been to go to the Toy Show but didn't think it would be possible having spent a lot of time in hospital this year.

After arriving at the studio just before the show ended, she introduced Kielty to her unicorn Uni, who she told the host is eight years old and has leukaemia.

"Uni doesn't have as much fur… because in the shops they have loads of fur but all hers got off because I hug her so much," she told Kielty.

The host's voice cracked as he revealed Aer Lingus and Disney were flying Sophie and her family business-class to Walt Disney Resort in Florida for a week.

If Kielty just about held it together, viewers at home didn't.

"Patrick Kielty brilliant job, you nearly went there on the gift to Sophie we could see why, and we shed the tear," posted one user on Twitter.

"I'm gone. GONE. Sophie and her unicorn. So precious. Patrick Kielty's saved Christmas," added another.

As he closed the show, Kielty revealed this year's Toy Show Appeal had so far raised more than €3m for charity.

Donations can still be made online by clicking here.