UK TV review: Drag SOS
Ivan Radford | On 07, Jul 2019
RuPaul’s Drag Race meets Queer Eye in Channel 4’s new series, a TV show that sounds so logical in its premise that it couldn’t possibly work. It follows a group of drag queens – “The Family Gorgeous” – who visit different towns across the UK to help encourage people there to find their “inner drag” and get a makeover into something extraordinary.
The production values are distinctly low-budget, and the result is far less slick than Queer Eye, but the reality series finds real emotion in the way it explores how drag has helped people to value themselves more or explore a part of their life that they’ve struggled to express. And so we see the reinvention of Abby, a single mum who wants to rediscover her younger self, and Nico, an art student who wants to recapture her self-confidence, both of whom perform on a special night to the local community. They’re joined, most movingly of all, by Shaun, a 55-year-old dad with a traditional sense of gender and sexuality, who goes through the whole thing solely in an attempt to bond with his son, Owen, who came out as gay when younger. As Shaun begins to understand the emotions that Owen went through at a younger age, without having his father’s support, it’s impossible not to feel a tug on your heart strings.
Drag Race UK, when it arrives on BBC Three later this year, will sashay away with all the glamour, but Drag SOS makes up for any lack in glitz with a great big heart.
Drag SOS is available on BritBox, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.