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Derry Girls star predicts RuPaul’s Drag Race will take aim at UK’s bigots

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell and Nicola Coughlan attending the RuPaul’s Drag Race premiere at Bloomsbury Ballroom, London (Ian West/PA)
Jamie-Lee O’Donnell and Nicola Coughlan attending the RuPaul’s Drag Race premiere at Bloomsbury Ballroom, London (Ian West/PA)

Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan has predicted RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will be like an “eff-you” to the nation’s “bigots”.

The actress, 32, said the forthcoming BBC Three show, which pits the nation’s finest drag queens against each another, had a “political edge” but came with “the most positive message”.

Coughlan, a long-time fan of drag and the US version of the programme, spoke to the PA news agency at the red carpet launch of the UK-centric spin-off in London on Tuesday.

RuPaul Drag Race Premiere – London
The contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (Ian West/PA)

She said: “This show, it’s always got that political edge to it.

“It’s really like an eff-you to all the bigots. It’s showing that you should be celebrating, you should be fabulous. It’s sending out the most positive message. If you can’t get on board with that then get in the bin.”

Coughlan told PA she used to visit the Black Cap, a famous drag and cabaret venue in Camden, before it closed in 2015.

“I’m a superfan. I’ve been a fan for a very long time. I used to go to the Black Cap in Camden to see all the queens. I go by myself,” she said.

RuPaul Drag Race Premiere – London
Judges Graham Norton, Michelle Visage and Alan Carr (Ian West/PA)

“I saw Shangela Beyonce (perform), so when I saw her do Beyonce for Beyonce I was like: ‘I feel like I was there in the beginning’.

“I kind of took credit for it. I’m a superfan. I have seen a lot of the queens perform.”

She attended the premiere with her Derry Girls co-star Jamie-Lee O’Donnell and both opted for flamboyant outfits in the style of the show.

Coughlan, best known for playing Clare Devlin in Derry Girls, joked that she had gone for a “very understated look this evening”, before adding of her bright pink gown: “Very Coco Chanel, very minimalist.”

RuPaul Drag Race Premiere – London
Curtis and AJ Pritchard at the launch at Bloomsbury Ballroom, London (Ian West/PA)

O’Donnell, who plays Michelle Mallon in the coming-of-age comedy, praised Drag Race for sparking a conversation about acceptance.

She said: “I just hope it incorporates everything the US version brings.

“Obviously it’s such a massive success. It’s won so many Emmys, it has done a huge amazing thing for the LGBT community and the drag community.

“I’m hoping that this continues over here. I’m sure it will.

“I’m just really excited to see what the queens are bringing. Obviously there’s loads of talented queens over here.”

Andrew Garfield, Maisie Williams and Cheryl are among the celebrity guest judges on the first UK series of the hit show.

Graham Norton and Alan Carr will be on rotating judging duties alongside permanent fixtures RuPaul and Michelle Visage.

Strictly Come Dancing’s AJ Pritchard and his brother, Love Island star Curtis, will also be coaches on the series, alongside British singer and producer MNEK, while Stacey Dooley and Lorraine Kelly will be celebrity guests for the show’s Snatch Game challenge, which sees the drag queens do their best impersonations of famous figures of their choice.

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK will air on BBC Three on October 3.

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