Northern Ireland news

Newry and south Armagh bands to star in Late Late Toy Show

The theme of this year's Late Late Toy Show is hit musical film The Greatest Showman. Picture by Andres Poveda
Brendan Hughes

A KIDS' rock band from Newry and a trad group from Co Armagh are among the excited youngsters from across Ireland set to take part in tonight's Late Late Toy Show.

Rockers the Jammy Dodgers and trad band Soilse were selected from thousands of hopefuls to perform during RTÉ's live annual festive extravaganza.

The Late Late Toy Show is Ireland's most watched TV programme with around 1.5 million viewers tuning in each year.

The Jammy Dodgers are a four-piece band from Newry – Donal McEvoy (12) on lead vocals and guitar; Dermot Og Winters (13) on drums; Luke Morgan (11) on guitar and backing vocals; and Rudi Falone (12) on bass guitar and backing vocals.

They were formed through the Jammin' Factory, a Newry music school providing practice rooms and lessons in a host of instruments for both children and adults.

Peter MacAnulty, who runs the school and helped set up the band, said: "What an opportunity for them – it's like a dream come true as a young fella or a young girl."

The Newry man added: "They have good chemistry with each other. They get on great with each other – in any band that's crucial."

Soilse, which is Irish for 'lights', is made up of three girls and three boys – sisters Claire (15), Ellen (10), and nine-year-old Dearbhla Casey from near Crossmaglen; Eoghan Murphy (15) from Belleek; Jude Quigg (13) from Forkhill; and Aodh MacMurchaidh (14) from Silverbridge.

The Jammy Dodgers with Late Late Toy Show host Ryan Tubridy during auditions earlier this year

They all take part in the Traditional Arts Partnership in Mullaghbawn and have performed together at various Irish music events including the Newry Fleadh.

The girls' mother Ciara Casey, a classroom assistant at St Patrick's nursery in Crossmaglen, said they are all looking forward to taking part in tonight's show.

"They're all delighted. They're all excited. There's just a buzz in the area – everybody is delighted for them," she said.

More than 200 young performers and more than 30 toy testers will take part in tonight's show, which this year is themed around the hit musical film The Greatest Showman.

It will be presenter Ryan Tubridy's 10th year hosting the programme. He said this year's show will be "wrapped up in kindness and warmth and humour".

"Having The Greatest Showman as our theme this year is helping to emphasise the essence of what I believe the Toy Show should be – inclusive," he said.

The Toy Show began in the early 1970s as a 30-minute slot at the end of RTÉ's flagship Late Late Show and was designed as a guide to the must-have Christmas toys.

Gay Byrne presented the annual programme until Pat Kenny took over in 1999 and then Tubridy in 2009.

:: The Late Late Toy Show will be broadcast on RTÉ One tonight from 9.35pm and available worldwide on the RTE Player.

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