Drag Race UK Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: “Royalty Returns”

Last night, RuPauls Drag Race UK series 2 aired on BBC Three and 12 new Queens entered the work room for the first time.

The first series which hit our screens last year featured only 10 Queens and was won by Liverpudlian pro The Vivienne, who became iconic for her Donald Trump impression, alongside audience favourite Baga Chipz’s and her impersonation of former PM Margret Thatcher. The pair’s 2021 tour, The Vivian and Baga Chipz Show has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Series 2 has embodied British drag wholeheartedly, and for the first challenge the newly arrived queens hit the court for a tennis themed photoshoot creatively called by RuPaul as “Wimbled’hun”.

The pose-off shoot, opened up plenty opportunity for innuendoes as queens found themselves dodging tennis balls. However, one thing to love about the show is how uniquely British it is in comparison to its US counterpart, even RuPaul has adopted some of our lingo asking one of the queens: “U OK hun?” after being hit with a tennis ball.

In the main challenge the queens where asked to create two looks for the runway. The first look involved celebrating the 50th anniversary of the meeting of the Gay Liberation Front in London, and required the queens to dress as a British gay icon – the icon they chose could be a member of the LGBTQ community, an ally, alive or dead. This was a chance for the queens to be creative, and some of them really nailed their first look such as Asttina Mandella who came out strong with a Naomi Campbell inspired look and walked the runway like a professional model.

For the second look they were asked to create an outfit that represented why they where “the queens of heir home town” which is always a fun challenge and normally involves typical stereotypes from pop-culture, for example; both the queens from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire strut the runway as Robin Hood. However, one of the more creative looks came from Scottish Queen Lawrence Chaney who based her outfit on Dennis the Menace, as the original Beano comics were published by DC Thomson in Scotland.

Drag Race UK doesn’t have as high-standard or budget as the original US show which has run for 13 seasons. What it really comes down to on the UK spin-off is humour, combining flamboyant comedy with classic British wit. We know this because the US the show has massive brand sponsorship, allowing them to give contestants cash prizes after challenge wins. Whereas our queens win the equivalent of Blue Peter badge renamed as a RuPeter badge. While disappointing, and has caused viewer complaints the symbolism of the badge holds significant British vales and nostalgia for many.

After an impressive runway Asttina Mandella claimed the first RuPeter badge. While, Drag Queens Joe Black and Bimini Bon Boulash found themselves in the Lyp Sync performing Relax by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. In the end it was seasoned Queen Joe Black who was asked to Sashay Away.

While it’s too soon to pick a favourite, here at Style-and-Wear we are rooting for our Northern queens Sister Sister from Liverpool, Veronica Green from Lancashire and Cherry Valentine from Darlington.

Candice Farrow

Fashion and lifestyle blogger from North East, England.

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