entertainment

Five things we need from 'RuPaul's Drag Race UK'

Here's our wishlist ahead of BBC Three's eight-part British edition.

2018-12-05

Words: Will Stroude

So this is it: After years of false starts an dashed hopes, RuPaul's Drag Race is finally getting a UK series.

Announced on Wednesday (5 December), the eight-part transatlantic edition of the world's biggest drag competition will to air on BBC Three in 2019, featuring Mama Ru herself in the judging hotseat - so y'all know it's legit *squeals*

Obviously we couldn't be more excited to see British queens shoot their shot after years of watching the American sisters lap up the glory, but with RuPaul's Holi-Slay Spectacular, All Stars 4 and season 11 proper all set to air in the US and UK the next few weeks, Drag Race is going to have to offer something different to make its mark.

With just a little while to wait until the series is with us (casting is currently taking place), here are the five things we hope RuPaul's Drag Race UK will have us gagging over...

1) Talent (and uniqueness, charisma, and nerve...)

Well, obviously. But after years of fans calling for a UK version of Drag Race, now's the time to show off what queens this side of the pond can bring to the (workroom) table.

Britain has one of the biggest and most exciting drag scenes in the world, and Drag Race UK producer cast a diverse net over all four corners of the country come 2019.

From Canal Street panto dames to edgy East London fashion queens and the YouTube glamour brigade, we've got plenty of potential All Stars just waiting to become the next Bianca Del Rio or Trixie Mattel. We just need to make sure they're in front of the panel (queens can apply here now).

Just a few trailblazers we'd love to see represent Team Drag GB include Manchester's monstrous Cheddar GorgeousJonny Woo’s Un-Royal Variety Performance star Freida Slaves, and legendary London club kid Lady Lloyd (all pictured above).

2) Snatch Game, Brit-style

The Snatch Game has provided us with some of RuPaul's best moments over the years (and, let's be honest, some of the worst) as queens impersonate some of the world's most riduclous celebrity personalities.

But just think of the amazing, barmy British options that we could now see? 

From bona fide legends like Adele and Princess Di to TV icons like Anne Robinson, Jade Goody and Peggy Mitchell all the way to madcap choices like Gemma Collins, Patsy from Ab Fab, and Kim Woodburn, we want to see the UK queens show off the best of zany Britain. Anything else would just be chicken-livered!

3) UK LGBT royalty on the judging panel

Given she's already appeared on Celebrity Big BrotherIreland's Got Talent and is currently performing in the West End in Everybody's Talking About Jamie, it's no surprise that Ru's right-hand woman and confirmed Anglophile Michelle Visage has already confirmed she'll be taking a place on the British panel.

But what of the others seats? UK drag star Jodie Harsh is our pick for a full-time spot, but think of the sheer volume of British LGBT talent that could form the rotating line-up of guest judges?

Paul O'Grady would also seem like an obvious choice, but having already voiced his disdain for Drag Race in the past, we'd be suprised if the artist formerly known as Lily Savage was persuaded to make an appearance.

That said there are still plenty of pioneering stars to choose from, from hot young things like Olly Alexander, Sam Smith, MNEK, and Tom Daley; gay faves like Alan Carr, Graham Norton, Gok Wan, Stephen Fry, Julian Clary and Sandi Toksvig, and of course fabulous allies like, Jade Thirlwall, Kylie Minogue (she's honourary Brit and we'll hear no different) and literally any Spice Girl and/or Spice Girl offspring (Harper Beckham, it's time to give back).

4) New challenges

In fact, not so much new challenges as classics tailored to a British audience: Think acting tasks that switch out telenovelas a primetime soaps like EastEnders (it's gonna be on the BBC after all), or challenging the queens to create their own traditional British panto or their own spin Loose Women and Blind Date.

Season seven's Shakesqueer challenge could work well on these shores, or how about a Blue Peter-inspired outfit mini-challenge called 'Here’s One I Made Earlier'? The possibilities are endless...

5) Most importantly... Its own identity

The explosive success of RuPaul's Drag Race over the last five years or so has been great for drag, LGBT representation on TV and RuPaul's bank account. But the American drag tradition is very different to the British one.

With its roots in variety shows and comedy clubs rather than ballroom, British drag is often a more chaotically comedic and slapdash (read: rough around the edges) than its US counterpart.

To avoid becoming a pale imitation of the original show, Drag Race UK will need to establish its own identity and reward the natural strengths of our queens rather than simply trying to parrot the polished pageant perfection often pursued by Ru and Michelle (though that's obviously still going to form major part of proceedings).

Do that, and who knows, maybe Drag Race UK could be preparing for its own 11th season come 2028.

Start those engines, ladies.