It’s official. RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is officially coming to BBC3 in 2019.
.@RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is coming soon to BBC Three.
— BBC Three (@bbcthree) December 5, 2018
The long-rumored British spin-off of the hit American drag show, which has propelled drag queens of colour such as Bianca Del Rio, Latrice Royal and Raja to superstardom, was announced to a mixture of excitement and trepidation earlier this week. But while fans were split over how well the format would work with British contestants, there’s no way any British Drag Race fan could pretend they’re not excited about the prospect of our favourite British pop culture icons being given the Snatch Game treatment.
What’s the Snatch Game?
For those of you who aren’t in the know, the Snatch Game is one of Drag Race’s flagship challenges. Every series since season two, contestants have been challenged to rustle up their finest celebrity impersonations and compete in a parody game show that shows to test their wit and characterization.
State-side, Snatch Game has given us some of Drag Race’s most memorable moments, from Kennedy Davenport’s triumphantly subversive Little Richard boy-drag, to Kenya Michael’s utterly inexplicable Beyoncé impersonation. The challenge is as a watershed moment each season, where the serious contenders are separated from, well, everyone else.
So with Britain’s own Snatch Game on the horizon, fans have excitedly been putting together their ultimate British pop culture icon Snatch Game wish list. Unfortunately, the suggestions thus far have been overwhelmingly Caucasian.
Drag Race UK – Snatch Game pic.twitter.com/EnIISK3xNI
— Mrs Phil Perry MBE (@MrsPhilPerry) December 5, 2018
While the US is clearly not a paragon of equal media representation, it has historically fared better than British TV, which is so white you could easily lose track of it in a snowstorm. That being said, the UK has more than enough legendary personalities of colour that the right queen could do wonders with on Snatch Game. Here are just 10 British personalities of colour we’d love to see given the Drag Race treatment (Sadly Naomi Campbell could not be included as Sheá Coulée already did her in Season 10).
- Konnie Huq (Blue Peter)
As a Blue Peter’s longest-serving female host, Konnie Huq is firmly rooted in the psyches of most British Millennials. Tragically, after an awkward stint on the Xtra Factor her TV career didn’t continue with the same momentum, but this is ideal Snatch Game fodder. Serve us jaded Konnie with a backlog of scandalous anecdotes about the world of Children’s TV, throw in a real-time Blue Peter Make complete with loo roll inserts and Papier-mâché, and you’re onto something brilliant.
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Blue Peter, 1998. 💙 💫 A motley crew of sorts, this line-up features the only Blue Peter presenter to ever get fired in its near 60 years of broadcast (Richard Bacon 🥓) and the longest ever serving Blue Peter presenter, with 11 years under her belt (1997-2008), Konnie Huq. 🙏 💫 From right to left: Konnie Huq, Simon Miles, Mabel the dog, Katy Hill and Richard Bacon. 🐕
- Nina Wadia (Going out for an English, Goodness Gracious Me)
Goodness Gracious Me was a huge moment for South Asian TV, exploring British-Asian identity in subversive and hilarious sketches. No Goodness Gracious Me is quite as iconic as the Going of for an English sketch, where Nina Wadia and the rest of the cast satirise drunk white Brits in curry houses by portraying an Indian family trying to wrap their heads around the names, smells, flavours and customs of an English restaurant. It’s basically a huge opportunity to take the piss out of white people – something which drag should never shy away from doing.
- Alesha Dixon
The most successful of the Misteeq Ladeez, Aleesha Dixon’s stints as a judge on both Britain’s Got Talent and Strictly Come Dancing have made her a household name and national treasure; the perfect starting point for a Snatch Game impression. Her iconic rapping style – and the hilariously enormous gulf between it and her normal speaking voice – lends itself perfectly to Snatch Game, and any queen who can play up that almost farcical difference (and throw in a few dance moves for good measure) could do very well with Ms. Dixon.
- Fatima Whitbread
The spotlight on our own record-breaking javelin supreme was very much fading, until a fortuitous casting on I’m A Celebrity rocketed Fatima right back into the public consciousness. Fatima is outrageously brave, famously blowing a lodged cockroach out of her nose like it was nothing during a bushtucker trial; while her unshakeable sincerity (a common trait among athletes) is basically asking to be mocked by the fundamentally ironic world of Drag. To make Fatima Snatch-Game funny, a queen would have to take this to the Nth degree, manically alternating between crushing coke cans in their biceps, offering unsolicited inspirational speeches to RuPaul and fellow contestants, and of course bringing the proceedings to a stand still so she can eat a replica kangaroo penis.
Sinitta might technically be from Seattle, but having spent 14 years in various roles on the X Factor, she’s a British icon in her own right. With just a pair of banana leaves and a few outlandish Simon Cowell anecdotes, a queen taking on Sinitta could storm the challenge on sheer ridiculousness alone.
- Julia Sawalha (as Saffy from Ab Fab)
If BenDeLaCreme could be a specific Maggie Smith character during her first Snatch Game, then I see no reason why a British queen couldn’t take on Jordanian-British actress Julia Sawalha’s most iconic character, Saffy Monsoon. Of course, Saffy isn’t the obvious Ab Fab Snatch Game choice, and Eddie and Patsy lend themselves much more readily to the challenge’s camp nature. A skilled queen could turn Saffy’s drab fashion, whiny disposition and insistence on the moral high ground a comedic foil to their competitor’s camp-classic characters. But without perfect timing and a wit like lightening, she would just come off as plain old annoying.
- Diane Abbott
Being one of the most wrongly vilified MPs in modern times, an impersonation of Diane Abbott would need to be done with absolute love. Only a queen who truly respects and understands Diane’s political point of view and personal history would be able to deliver an impression that plays off the comedic incongruence between her sharp-as-knives mind and breathy, lilted speaking voice without disrespecting her historical importance and political skill. Without a Rolodex of catchphrases to choose from, the vocal impression would need to be flawless for Diane to work on the Snatch Game. So get practicing, ladies.
The first rule of Snatch Game is to have a shedload of catchphrases up your sleeve, and with Des’ree’s nonsensical lyrics (I don’t want to see a ghost/that’s the sight that I fear most/rather have a piece of toast/watch the evening news) she would be an eminently quotable choice. Her biggest songs make almost no sense, which a kooky queen could really use to her advantage. She also once successfully sued Beyoncé, which cannot be ignored during a Snatch Game performance.
9. Nathalie Emmanuel (as Missandei from Game of Thrones)
Missandei’s subservience to the pale Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryon on Game of Thrones can be seen as problematic – giving a smart queen the chance to subvert this on-screen relationship by presenting a Missandei that really can’t stand Westeros’ very own dragon-taming white savior. A queen who really wanted to switch things up could transform mid-challenge into Nathalie’s lesser-known Hollyoaks character Sasha Valentine, who falls victim to the perils of drink, drugs and even a tumultuous relationship with soap gangster Warren Fox.
- Shirley Bassey
There’s no doubt that queens of colour will be fighting to be the girl who brings Dame Shirley to Snatch Game, but only those who can do an accurate vocal impression need apply. Grandiose in her public persona and utterly unimpressed with everything the modern age of celebrity has to offer (except Pink’s Get The Party Started, of course), Shirley could rip any contestant using a 2018 pop culture reference to shreds – so long as she can accurately oscillate between velvet welsh speaking tones and full-blown diva roars as she hurls her insults. And if all else fails, borrowing “she doesn’t have the range” from Little Britain’s Shirley Bassey parody would be a sure winner.