Danny Beard says she’s created a RuPaul’s Drag Race UK spin-off series that hardcore fans will “actually want to see”.
Our current reigning champion is set to embrace her inner “Big Brother’s Little Bit on the Side” with The After Shave, a “good old fashioned recap series” that will air each week after the main show.
As the host of the series, Danny will reflect on the latest Drag Race UK episode (out of drag) before interviewing the eliminated queen backstage in the werkroom (in drag). “I pull up a director’s chair and sit them down for a good ol’ chin-wag, going through all the drama,” Danny tells GAY TIMES.
Danny, who did not receive an Academy Award nomination for her critically-reviewed season four impersonation of Davina McCall, says she was inspired by the legendary Big Brother host when ‘prodding and poking’ the contestants for tea.
The After Shave isn’t just about drama, however: it’s another chance for the queens to showcase their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.
“We’ve got some nice and funny moments out of the queens and it’s nice that they’re all getting to show another look,” says Danny. “They’re also getting to share a bit more of themselves on camera, which didn’t happen on any other season. It really gives the girls the chance to have their final say.”
Describing her interview style as “the chaos of Allison Hammond, the gritty titties of Stacey Dooley and campness of Alan Carr,” Danny is hoping to become the first-ever Drag Race queen to win a Pulitzer Prize: “I feel like, actually, I’m a very good journalist. Cilla Black would be proud, girl. Cilla Black would be calling me a journalist, ladies and gentlemen.”
Danny exclusively reveals that she will be joined in her barbershop by TikTok icon Bailey J Mills, who will play the role of “shop assistant”.
For those who are (somehow) unaware of Bailey’s legacy, the star memorably changed comedy forever with her DIY drag and homage to Scooby Doo’s severely near-sighted detective Velma Dinkley; becoming one of the UK’s most notable – and beloved – drag entertainers in the process.
“There were a couple of non-negotiables for me when I pitched this with WOW: no green screen, because I didn’t want it to feel cheap, and that Bailey J Mills had to be part of it in some way,” she reveals. “Bailey is the kind of drag that is so funny and entertaining, but maybe someone we wouldn’t see right now on Drag Race.
“She’s basically the star of the show, which I’m very happy for her to be because she’s just so out there and crazy and chaotic. It was the perfect fit with the chaos that I bring in my drag. We had some great improvisational moments together and I can’t wait for the world to know Bailey, and for the fans of Bailey to get that little extra slice of her.”
Following The After Shave‘s initial announcement, drama ensued when fellow Drag Race UK alumni Veronica Green criticised Danny’s decision to host the series out of drag. “I’m not gagging,” she commented on her Instagram post. “Congratulations for getting the opportunity though.”
Reflecting on the controversy, Danny jokes: “What was she called? I can’t remember which one it was, I think it was one of the ones that doesn’t work anymore.” However, Danny says she owes the season two and three star her gratitude for ‘drawing more attention’ to The After Shave, saying the drama was the “guerilla marketing we couldn’t afford with the BBC budget”.
“The truth is, I have no ill feelings against Veronica,” Danny continues. “Anyone who’s a fan of me, keep it fun. Even my response was fun and shady, it wasn’t deep. And I don’t want people to be getting deep with Veronica. She was expressing her opinion and opinions are like arseholes: full of shit.”
The fifth season of Drag Race UK premieres Thursday 28 September on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer at 9pm. The After Shave follows at 10.15pm.
Danny describes the season as “spicy” with “a bit of everything you could possibly want”.
The 10 queens hoping to usurp Danny in the Drag Race UK Hall of Fame are as follows: Alexis Saint-Pete, Banksie, Cara Melle, DeDeLicious, Ginger Johnson, Kate Butch, Michael Marouli, Miss Naomi Carter, Tomara Thomas and Vicki Vivacious. (You can read our digital cover with all 10 queens here.)
Guest judges include Aisling Bea, Alexandra Burke, Cush Jumbo, Daphne Guinness, Joel Dommett, Kristen McMenamy, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Suranne Jones and Yasmin Finney, as well as cameos from Edward Enninful OBE, Carol Vorderman, Karen Hauer and Claudimar Neto.