Irish schoolgirl Tessa Evans to appear on RTE's Late Late Toy Show with Patrick Kielty

A 10-year-old girl from Maghera, Co Londonderry, is set to appear on RTE’s biggest show of the season – The Late Late Toy Show, and she couldn’t be more exicted.

Tessa Evans, who was born with an extremely rare condition known as BAM (Bosma Arhinia Microphthalmia) syndrome, said she can’t wait for the special programme, which showcases the popular toys of the year.

She said: “I am really, really, really excited and a tiny bit nervous.”

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Tessa isn’t allowed to say much about the show, but she will take part in one of the performances.

The youngster, who loves “dolls, Sylvanian families and Squishmallows”, said she is hoping to get ideas for Santa at the show.

Mum Grainne, said it was Tessa’s teacher, Muinteoir Laurene, who suggested sending in an application to the iconic TV show, which first aired in 1975.

“We did this very simple little video of Tessa talking about her favourite toys and we were amazed when we got called for the audition. We went down to Dublin and that was a lovely day for her. The parents weren’t allowed in the room for the audition, but she was so confident, she just walked in and I could hear some laughing coming from the room and then we just had to keep our fingers crossed for two weeks. Then we got a phone call to say that she had got a part. It is an absolute dream come true for us.”

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Grainne added that Tessa has had two full Sundays of rehearsals and there will be a full cast dress rehearsal on Thursday.

"It has all been really full on, and Tessa has had an amazing experience already. It’s lovely being part of one of the performances because there are lots of other little girls who are in it with her, so she has already made lots of friends and she is so excited to do the thing with them.”

Grainne said Tessa, who has her own Facebook page (Tessa Born Extraordinary), is well used to being interviewed and appearing in front of TV cameras for documentaries.

“Tessa is the only one we know of in Ireland with this condition (BAM), so the Facebook page was a way to reach out to other people around the world – so we have made lots of connections through that. Tess was born without a nose and she has some visual impairments. There’s also a hormonal aspect and she has a tracheostomy as a second airway.”

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Grainne, who will accompany Tessa to Friday night’s show, said: “We have three other kids at home so they might do a little watch party with granny and grandad or they might come down (to Dublin) and stay with friends, so that they are close by.”

Patrick Kielty will be presenting the Late Late Toy Show for the first time, after having fronted 10 episodes as the Late Late’s new host.

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