Birds of a feather
“So that’s Christmas done then,” said Father Tubs as he wrapped up his Toy Show and turned his thoughts to 12 months hence. In the quiet of his dressing-room, the cries of gi -laden children and adults long faded, a gloom descended on the beardless one. “Only 364 sleeps to the next Toy Show,” he sighed as he idly played with his LEGO before dri ing o into an uneasy sleep. It was cold when he awoke, his slumber broken by a so tapping at the door.
“Oh who can be abroad at such an ungodly hour?” wondered Father Tubs as he recalled the ghosts of chat shows past. “Surely that naughty boy from Boyzone is long gone?” But there was no one outside his dressing room door, not a soul on that corridor of broken dreams, its walls hung with portraits of long forgotten faces. Shaking his head, Father Tubs stepped back into his suite only to nd an owl on the couch, hopping from foot to foot and hooting tunelessly as it surveyed him with gimlet eyes. “You don’t remember me do you?” e feathered interloper spoke in a strangely familiar tongue. “Should I?” asked Father Tubs, making a mental note to remind his producer that working with children and animals on the same night is never a good thing. e owl sighed and produced a Cuban cigar from beneath his wing. “Do you mind?” he asked even as he red up and closed his eyes. “ ey always forget, even the clever ones, how they sold their souls to sit on the velvet throne.”
“ at’s a hoot,” said Father Tubs as he pressed the secret alarm beneath the banquette, not realising such devices hadn’t worked since Dermot Bannon had replaced all ttings with fake props. “No this is a hoot,” says the midnight caller before letting rip with an almighty screech that caused the very air to shimmer like a cheap special e ect from a 1970s children’s show. Suddenly the room was lled with birdsong, cheap jokes and Christmases past.
When Father Tubs opened his eyes, there was no living thing in the room, hooting or otherwise. “Did I imagine it all?” he said, even as a downy feather dri ed gently onto his upturned face, and in that moment, like Archimedes in his bath, everything became clear. “I have it!” he cried, whispering the theme for next year’s Toy Show to the dumbstruck walls. No one heard, not even the little girl who had hidden herself amid the wreckage of the Toy Show studio and was at that late hour having a chat with a wise old owl.
e Late Late Toy Show returns next year.
The Late Late Toy Show