The stories I'm seeing are a little vague but they seem to hint that Ru might host the show himself. In the past, when they talked about a UK show this wasn't always the case. I'm wondering when he would have time to tape it with "The World's Best" coming in February, and then taping new seasons of US Drag Race and maybe All Stars in the summer/fall...
Michelle Visage is joining Rupaul in the UK version of Drag Race.
The BBC has confirmed Visage, who has judged eight seasons of the U.S. format and four seasons of the All-Stars spin-off, will appear as a judge on the BBC Three show. The eight-episode adaptation, which is being produced by World of Wonder for the youth-skewing network this year, will look to crown one of the UK’s top drag artists the ‘Queen of Great Britain’.
Contestants will compete in individual or team challenges that test a specific drag queen skill before taking on the Maxi Challenge, where they may be required to perform, model in a photo shoot, prepare a runway look for a themed challenge before having to face the judges, with one contestant each week eliminated and asked to “sashay away”.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK was commissioned by Damian Kavanagh, outgoing controller BBC Three and Kate Phillips, Controller, BBC Entertainment. The Executive Producers are RuPaul Charles, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Tom Campbell, Sally Miles and Bruce McCoy, and the BBC Commissioning Editor is Ruby Kuraishe.
“We’ve been working tirelessly to bring the magic of RuPaul’s Drag Race to my favourite city in the world: London,” said Visage. “I know the UK has a wealth of talent to offer and I’m thrilled beyond belief to see these queens battle it out on the main stage, UK style. God save the Queens.
“Michelle has worked tirelessly to help bring Drag Race to the UK, we are grateful she is part of our family,” said World of Wonder co-founders Barbato and Bailey. “She is a quadruple threat; she sings, she dances, she acts, and boy, can she judge. Queens beware.”
Michelle already spends a lot of time in the UK and Ireland; she's a judge on Ireland's Got Talent, plus she was on the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother a few years ago, and she recently appeared in "Jamie: The Musical" in London's West End.
The UK premiere was incredibly well received -- Andrew Garfield was guest judge and was enthusiastic and hilarious.
The show looks just like the US version (the set is even a little more fun and fancy), and the production values are just as good. It looks like they physically moved the workroom across the ocean.
Here's an interesting bit of trivia that I didn't notice as I watched: There's no $100,000 cash prize for the winner in the UK version. Apparently since BBC is a publicly funded network (like PBS here), they don't allow commercial sponsorships.
We're only 5 episodes into season 1, and the show has already been picked up for season 2 & announced casting:
I'm really enjoying this version. It's a cultural education as well as a hoot. Michelle Visage (who is currently burning the floor on Strictly Come Dancing over there) is a total Britophile and a britpop culture expert. In some ways the UK queens are more crass in their humor, but at the same time, in the workroom they are very sisterly and help each other out much more than the more competitive US queens. Fashion-wise, the veteran queens got serious game, and the less experienced "non-sewing" queens have already been thinned from the herd.