Jumper joy: Late Late host Ryan Tubridy presents the Toy Show

THE Christmas Eve episode of the Late Late Show has been pre-recorded and will not go out live this year. Guests on the show, which was recorded last Wednesday, include Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, footballer Robbie Keane and his wife Claudine, and singer songwriter Jimmy McCarthy.

A spokeswoman for the show defended the move and said it was common procedure that the Christmas edition of the show was not live.

"Every year we pre-record the Christmas Late Late Show, and we see no issue with that."

Media analyst and head of journalism at the Dublin Institute of Technology Michael Foley said pre-recording the show highlighted how it much had changed since Gay Byrne was at the helm.

"The thing about the Late Late is that it was always lauded as being special because it is always live and that is always emphasised. It is a sign of the changes which have taken place since Gay Byrne left that nobody seems to mind that the show is now being pre-recorded at Christmas, and that the presenter can just say, 'I'd rather be at home' for this one and that's okay."

However, Foley also said Irish viewers were unlikely to complain about the episode as they were not looking for anything new at Christmas.

"At Christmas, people like to see what they have basically seen the previous year. It is the one time of the year that people want to see the same movies, and even the same advertisements. In that way it won't be too much out of place that the show has already been recorded and doesn't have guests who have necessarily been in the news that week," he said.

Foley said the show had evolved into a new phase which he said did not make as much of an impact as previous years.

"The Late Late always had a special place with the Irish – it is an institution. However, it used to be that news editors would tell reporters to keep an eye on the show for possible articles on a Sunday. It hasn't been this way in a while and it may be time to re-look at what the show is about."

Viewers desert date for Late Late

TV3's dating programme Take Me Out became more of a turn me off as viewers deserted Ray Foley and his 30 amorous women to watch the Late Late Toy Show.

Figures show that ratings figures hit a low of 50,000 on Friday 26 November. A spokeswoman for the show said the figures were usually in the region of 150,000 and suffered because of the toy show. "The Late Late Toy Show is an institution and in this context Take Me Out held its own very well against it, as it always does. The figures are usually between 150, 000-170,000 for the show and we are very pleased with it – no other show has done so well against the Late Late before," she said.