Northern Ireland

Paddy Kielty's 'amazing' Late Late Toy Show breaks digital viewing record

Patrick Kielty with some of the guests of Friday's Late Late Toy Show. Picture: RTÉ
Patrick Kielty with some of the guests of Friday's Late Late Toy Show. Picture: RTÉ

RTÉ’s Late Late Toy Show has raised over €3.6 million for children's charities across Ireland while setting a new record for digital views.

The annual festive broadcast was screened on Friday evening, with over 1.7 million viewers watching live and on catch-up across the weekend.

RTÉ Player streams in the north more than doubled compared to last year, it was confirmed, while UK streams of the show rose from around 33,000 last year to over 65,000.

Hosted for the first time by Co Down's Patrick Kielty, the Toy Show featured Co Derry girl Tessa Evans (10), who joined fellow 'superfans' of Matilda the Musical in performing a song from the West End show and 2022 movie.

Tessa was overjoyed when she and fellow performers met Matilda star Alisha Weir in a surprise appearance.

The Maghera schoolgirl's family have spoken of their pride over the youngster - who was born without a nose due to having Bosma Arhinia Microphthalmia syndrome - representing children with a facial difference on the show.

Read more: 

  • Late Late Toy Show: ‘Tessa woke up the next morning and asked if she had dreamt it'
  • 'We hope Tessa appearing on the show will inspire and help others' - Co Derry girl on Late Late Toy Show

RTÉ confirmed the broadcast was its most-watched show of the year, with viewers tuning in from an "unprecedented" 147 countries.

Streams of the show were recorded for the first time in countries including Iraq, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

Over €3.6 million was raised for the annual Toy Show Appeal, and the sum will be distributed to children's organisations through the Community Foundation Ireland charity.

Meanwhile, the show also racked up 26.2 million video views and 2.2 million interactions on social media over the weekend.

Patrick Kielty, who replaced Ryan Tubridy as Late Late Show host in September, said he was "still coming back down to earth from an amazing night" after presenting his first Toy Show.

"I want to express huge thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s Late Late Toy Show so special," he said.

"To all of you who watched, to the brilliant kids who brought their magic and put a giant smile on all of our faces. And, to every last one of you who gave so generously to our Toy Show Appeal – you have made a massive difference to so many children’s lives – thank you! Being part of it is something I will never forget – a forever night."

RTÉ's head of entertainment, Alan Tyler, said: ""We are delighted that Patrick's first Late Late Toy show has connected so well with the audience. It is a testament to the hard work of the whole team who put together a truly unique and special show."

Since the first Toy Show Appeal in 2020, the charity campaign has raised over €21 million.

Chief executive of Community Foundation Ireland, Denise Charlton, said: “The extraordinary generosity of Toy Show viewers will ensure the magic continues long after the Christmas decorations come down. Hundreds of thousands of children will have their lives transformed. There will be more essential supports including food, clothing, therapy as well as health and wellbeing services."