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Iconic Late Late Toy Show moments that everyone remembers from previous years

For many families, tonight officially marks the beginning of the Christmas season as the Late Late Toy Show returns to our screens.

While technology, toys and even the show's presenters have changed in all the time it has been running, the magic of the annual show remains the same. And as something that has been a part of multiple generations' childhoods, the show brings out a child-like joy in all ages.

All around Ireland tonight, kids will stay up way past their bedtimes to snuggle up and watch the biggest TV event of the year. A night of song, dance, surprises and, most importantly, toys, we can't wait to see what Ryan Tubridy and all of the kids have in store for us this time.

Read more: Talented Co Tyrone teen to appear on Late Late Toy Show

In anticipation of whatever tonight's episode will bring, we decided to remind ourselves of the laughs, tears and fun the show has given us over the years. Take a look back at these memorable moments from previous years that went down in Toy Show history.

The rapping farmer

In 2015's show, we were graced with a performance from eight-year-old "small farmer" Fionn Molloy. Like many young boys of his age in rural Ireland, Fionn enjoyed a good farm playset and aspired to one day join the IFA.

But there was more to Fionn than met the eye: he was also a fan of rap. Unafraid to spit a cúpla verses himself, he made his debut performance on live TV.

Eminem can rap, but can he also wrap bale like Fionn? We think not.

Alex comes home from Australia

In 2019, Tubridy asked one of the bike demonstrators, Lee, about his four siblings. Lee told him about his brother and sister backstage, his brother sick at home and his sister Alex in Australia.

The presenter announced the 24-year-old, who moved across the globe three years prior, had a special message for her little brother. As Lee waved to the camera, Alex snuck up on him to give him a big hug.

The rest of the family, who were clueless to the surprise, then ran on-stage for a tearful reunion. Though the show took place in late November, Tubridy announced that Alex's stay would be long enough to include being home for Christmas.

"Any craic?"

We love when the kids catch Tubridy off-guard, and five-year-old Alex Meehan did exactly that in a drive-by appearance on 2012's show. During the segment where kids show off the best bikes, go-karts, scooters and other toy vehicles of the year, Alex drove on-stage on a toy tractor.

The young Dundalk native took Tubridy by surprise when he went from answering questions to asking them - in Irish, no less. Visibly impressed, the presenter then asked, "Any craic?" to which Alex replied "Níl" before swiftly zooming away, leaving Tubridy in awe.

Girls Aloud's awkward surprise appearance

Whether a child's hero is a local nurse, a national sportsperson, a famed scientist or a Grammy-winning household name, the Late Late Toy Show has always done its best to unite a young guest with their idol(s). But the phrase "never meet your heroes" may have rung true for poor Toby Kane, who was surprised by Girls Aloud on-air in 2003.

In the most early-00s clip ever, Pat Kenny held his mic up to a CD player playing the band's cover of 'Jump'. A small, spiky-haired Toby sung his heart out along to it, belting Nadine Coyle's high note and all.

Right as he got to the chorus, he was interrupted by Girls Aloud themselves, who excitedly fawned over him. A terrified-looking Toby refused to give Kimberly Walsh a kiss, then shook his head with a wobbly lip when Kenny asked if he'd like to chat to them. The girls awkwardly swayed between trying to comfort him and trying not to further overwhelm him. Bless.

The remote children's choir

While the show isn't exactly a stranger to making its viewers cry, 2020's episode felt particularly emotional. After a long few months of worry, loss, isolation, lockdowns and not being able to see loved ones, Christmas couldn't come quickly enough.

But even Christmas was different in a lot of households that year, with relatives abroad unable to return home. Parents missed adult kids, siblings missed siblings and grandparents missed grandkids.

In acknowledgement of that, the show put together a virtual choir in which kids from all over the globe performed Take That's 'Rule the World'. The performance even featured a surprise appearance from Gary Barlow himself.

Dustin, Zig and Zag rip into "Uncle Gaybo"

Before Kenny and Tubridy were ruthlessly owned or shown up by kids live on their own show, Gay Byrne got similar treatment. Yet in his case, it was less stick off the children of Ireland and more off the puppets of RTE.

In 1992's show, the Den duo Zig and Zag were joined by Dustin the turkey to give their poor "Uncle Gaybo" the aul' run-around. As in, they literally had him run around the stage by chasing him with a remote control car.

Along with slagging off his Christmas jumper, the puppets gave him a present - two copies of his own book, "just in case" he lost one. The broadcaster then kicked the trio off the stage.

Fergal the opera singer impresses DJ Callum

Last year's show introduced us to the young DJ Callum and his hype-man, little brother Jackson. But it turned out DJ Callum could also be a hype-man himself.

When another boy named Fergal joined the stage to sing Ava Maria, the brothers remained in the background. DJ Callum was highly impressed by Fergal's opera singing, and wasn't afraid to show it through some hilarious expressions.

Army dad reunites with kids

As if expats coming home for Christmas wasn't tear-jerking enough, there wasn't a dry eye in the audience during a special moment in 2017's Toy Show. Cork siblings Adam and Kayla Burke spoke about their army dad in Mali, who was completing his 6th tour of duty peacekeeping overseas.

The pair hadn't seen their dad in six months and wouldn't be seeing him again until January - or so they thought. After testing out some toys, Tubridy brought the brother and sister over to a giant wrapped present and ripped it open to reveal their dad, dressed in uniform and all.

The overjoyed siblings were then joined on-stage by their mum and younger sister to give their dad a tearful hug. Even Tubridy got choked up while chatting to the reunited family.

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