BROADCASTER Ryan Tubridy will make history tonight when he becomes the first 'Late Late' host to sing on the long-running chatshow.
The 36-year-old will perform a song from 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' as the opening piece of tonight's annual 'Late Late Toy Show'.
"It will be mildly ridiculous, but it's a mildly ridiculous night so I will be giving it a go. The idea was suggested to me over a pint one night -- 'why don't you sing?' Great idea, then I woke up the next day thinking it was a dreadful idea, but they said, 'We need something to laugh at right now,' so I agreed. It will be embarrassing but hopefully wonderful too," Tubridy told the Irish Independent.
More than 100 children, countless toys and a set inspired by 1971 film 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' will feature in tonight's toy extravaganza.
Started back in the mid-1960s, when Gay Byrne was host, 'The Late Late Toy Show' remains one of the most-watched programmes on Irish television, last year attracting 1.38 million viewers, its highest audience in 15 years.
However, in a week of IMF bailout talks and a harsh four-year plan, Tubridy claimed we need the Toy Show in 2010 more than ever.
"It just so happens that the Toy Show falls on a Friday of a week that people wish hadn't happened. I've been describing this show as a "national distraction" and we're acutely aware that the country needs a laugh and needs a fun night off from everything.
"Our job is to put a much-needed smile on people's face in this country, because it's a sad place to be at the moment," added Tubridy.
He revealed that the downturn had been factored into the toys that will be tested on the programme.
"We have hit rock bottom and are in an economic ground-zero situation. With that in mind, I can assure everyone the toys featured on the Toy Show will have one eye on children's happiness and the other on parents' budgets.
"I understand that Santa has had to lay off a number of elves in the last six months, and with that in mind, we are going to remind children that they should manage their expectations in writing letters to Santa," he said.
Last year's 'X Factor' winner Joe McElderry, along with UK pop act McFly, will appear on the programme, which RTE spent three months planning, and which the state broadcaster said would showcase Irish-made toys where possible.
'The Late Late Toy Show' starts at 9.25pm on RTE1.