Comedian Emma Doran reflects on her relationship with the Toy Show and unashamedly chooses her favourite TV kids.

When I was a kid, The Late Late Toy Show was for one thing and one thing only: To slag off the Billy Barry kids.

Sure, as a child I had dreams of being a critically acclaimed performer beloved the world over, but you certainly would not be vocalising that. Especially with two older brothers.

No, The Toy Show was about watching how much said presenter got frustrated with children, how silly the Billy Barry's were for enjoying performing and then having the absolute cheek to do it on telly.

My rage was only fueled further when the camera would pan to the audience. Did my parents not love me enough to sort tickets to the hottest show in Ireland? Did they not want to spend an evening in woolly Christmas jumpers and funny hats under studio lights in November?

Image: RTÉ Archives

They could have had the chance to wave at me on national television for a split second. And if they’d really been willing to put just a little bit of effort in, they could have got chatting to Uncle Gaybo and sorted out a slot for me on the show for the following year - but no!

Over the years, to my surprise, the Toy Show has grown on me. And it continues to get bigger and better. Surprise celebrity guests, matching family pyjamas, extravagant themes and a host who seems to genuinely enjoy the whole thing.

Some chink in my armour must have happened when I become a mother because I now spend the majority of my viewing joyfully howling at the beautiful children. The Late Late Toy Show is essentially an ayahuasca ceremonial for auld ones who haven’t got the time or the cash to do the real thing.

Ryan’s devilment is, I’ll be honest, part of the draw, but its them damn cutie kids for me every year. None of them are my own children so I can happily pick favourites without fear of judgement.

Here are my top five Toy Show kids (so far):

1. Aimee Keogh getting to meet Ed Sheeran, 2014: Even though Aimee mentioned him third on her list of favourite popstars, when Ed Sheeran suddenly appeared on set Aimee’s excitement was infectious. She even got to sing with everyone’s favourite ginger, and she did a pretty great job.

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2. Nanny Pat and Tom: Nanny Pat loves Tom and Tom loves Nanny Pat. What more do you need to know? Stop looking at me and hand me a tissue!

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3. Adam and Kayla Burke: The Burke children were reunited with their dad, Graham Burke after he had spent six months in Mali with the Irish Army. I was so dehydrated from crying after this one, I was almost in rigor mortis.

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4. Sophia Maher: When Sophie told the nation that she carried a worry stone because of the bullies, we all collectively decided that we had Sophie’s back until the end of time. You mess with Sophie, you mess with us!

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5. Adam: It's hard to remember a time when Adam, the boy who wants to travel to outer space, wasn’t in our lives. It’s been a busy time for Adam, and we can only assume he’ll be presenting The Late Late Show full time come 2022. But if we don’t sort his trip to space by the time the summer break rolls around, what are we even doing, people?!

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The Late Late Toy Show will air on Friday, 26th November at 9:35 pm on RTÉ One and RTÉ Player.