RuPaul’s Drag Race To Go International

Roy Ward

When Roy was 7 a girl tied him to a tree and tried to set him on fire. He now lives in Leeds with his boyfriend. These facts may be connected. Vada's Deputy Editor, he loves pop culture in all its forms, plus feminism; drag queens and Nigella Lawson. Find him on Twitter @badlydrawnroy.

According to the Daily Star, Jonathan Ross is set to launch a UK version of Vada’s favourite Drag Queen-based reality TV show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, in partnership with British queen Jodie Harsh. Werk.

This news appears to have come as a bit of a shock to some people who didn’t realise how much of a RPDR superfan Wossy is – he’s been tweeting about the show for years and has popped up at many of the queens’ performances when they’ve been in London. He clearly loves the show and knows (like Vada does) that the rest of the UK would love it too. It’s good news all round, right?

Well, I have my reservations, and especially at this early stage where we know staggeringly little about what the show would be like. Let’s look at Jodie Harsh – she’s fabulous and all, but is she a big enough household name to pull in the viewers? That said, she’s quite well-known on the club scene, and she regularly rubs shoulders with celebrity greats who would make great guest judges (HEY, LILY ALLEN!). Jonathan Ross clearly is a big enough celebrity name to be attached to the show, but is he a little too polarising to have the complete backing of a British LGBT audience?

If Ru herself wasn’t going to be involved with the hosting of the show, a British version would ideally need to find a British analogue of RuPaul – a seasoned drag queen with wit, humour and professionalism, versed in a variety of entertainment mediums, in order to be as successful and compelling as its Stateside counterpart. I’m looking squarely at you, Paul O’Grady. Yes, I know Lily Savage is retired now, living a reformed life in a nunnery in the South of France, but this would be the perfect opportunity to bring her back into the public eye.

lily savage

Just in case any of you more sceptical types re worried that this is some horribly belated April Fool’s prank, or a Daily Star fabrication, it’s worth noting that World of Wonder have a German version clearly already planned, with RuPaul’s seal of approval. This video went live last year, so we can possibly expect some more announcements about this within the coming months:

I’m actually quite excited about this, and will absolutely be tuning in for some Teutonic fierceness, assuming it comes with English subtitles. Ich spreche kein Deutsch, gurrl.

There are clearly plans in motion for RuPaul’s Drag Race to spread its fabulous wings across the globe into new territory, and there are potentially plenty of other parts of the world that Ru has her beady eyes on. Look at current Season 6 favourite Courtney Act – it’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that she could be set up to present and host an Australian version of it.

Courtney

She’s already a successful reality TV star over there, and a professional singer, as well as owning her own line of wigs for drag queens – she’s a smart cookie, and every bit Ru’s Aussie counterpart. We all know that the Aussies love a drag queen or two – and if Priscilla and Dame Edna are anything to go by, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Down Under (trademark pending) would be incredibly fierce.

Provided that the production values remained as high, and the contestants were just as fierce as in the American original, I have every confidence that a British version of Drag Race could take the country by storm. God save the (drag) queens.