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Culture Club

with Conor Behan

Initial fears that UK queens would have to adapt themselves into an American format have proved unfounded as Drag Race UK has managed to mine a particular kind of campy British sensibility that stands apart from the catchphrases and viewpoint of the US format. However, the fact that the original production company are involved and have brought RuPaul and Michelle Visage over for proceedings has given a legitimacy sometimes missing when shows get remade. With the involvement of key people from the US version, this feels like an important part of the canon (though many fans praise Drag Race Thailand for its own take on the format).

The cast is strong, serving up young queens (some of the youngest in the show’s history) and ones who exist in a broader, comedic tradition than the generation who grew up with a drag TV show to give them pointers. While the show can feel overproduced, having moments where Blu Hydrangea discusses the reality of growing up gay in Northern Ireland or Divina Di Campo discusses life under Section 28, for queer youth the show frequently has an emotional heft that’s hard to deny.

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