Series two of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK continues tonight, with the remaining nine queens battling it out to be Britain’s Next Drag Superstar.
As many fans know, the current series was interrupted by the pandemic halfway through, with the contestants being sent home for several months while the UK was plunged into lockdown.
If you’re wondering whether Drag Race UK will address the pandemic in the show and when the new restrictions kicked in, we’ve got you covered.
Read on for everything you need to know about how COVID-19 affected Drag Race UK, which episode was the last to be filmed before the pandemic and when filming resumed.
Episode 4 is the last before the COVID hiatus
The fourth episode of Drag Race UK, which airs on Thursday 4th February, is the last episode that was filmed before COVID-19 halted production on the show.
Tonight’s episode sees the queens take on a presenting challenge as they host their own daytime magazine show, Morning Glory. Lorraine Kelly joins the judging panel this week for the last episode before the pandemic hit.
Will Drag Race UK address the pandemic?
Yes – Drag Race UK will address the show’s COVID break in episode five, which airs on Thursday 11th February.
The episode will see RuPaul and the queens return from their lockdown hiatus as filming for the show resumes.
“With the queens reunited and added twists, there is much excitement in the air, but the competition picks up quickly as the queens form two groups for a Europop battle – The RuRuvision Song Contest,” the BBC teases.
BBC Three will also be launching a documentary – RuPaul’s Drag Race UK: Queens on Lockdown – which looks at what the contestants got up to during the production hiatus through self-filmed video diaries and interview footage. This will arrive on BBC iPlayer at 6am on Friday 12th February.
How was Drag Race UK affected by COVID-19?
Filming on Drag Race UK’s second season was disrupted in March by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the queens being sent home for a seven-month break.
Production on the show began in early 2020 and the queens had just filmed episode four when the show was shut down.
Speaking to BBC News, Veronica Green said: “It was devastating for the entire cast. We didn’t know if it was going to finish. We’d had this amazing opportunity come our way and it was dead in its tracks.”
Filming on season two resumed in October, with new COVID restrictions in place. Speaking to PA Media agency (via Belfast Telegraph), A’Whora said that the queens were tested multiple times before filming restarted.
“Every day you walk in, sanitise your hands, temperature checked, we were very well trained in how to adapt to it and everywhere you travel you’re wearing a mask.
“We all had these hand-held big screen masks that we could use that wouldn’t damage our make-up but would still protect us so they really did everything to work best for us. We never came into contact with the crew, we never came into contact with the celeb guest judges or the panel, it was always maintained.”
In terms of the actual competition, Alan Carr revealed to RadioTimes.com and other press outlets at a Drag Race UK press event that many queens used the hiatus to up their game.
“I said to Graham [Norton], some of the queens now, now they know what the standard is, you’d hope that in that break they got to a sewing machine, they got the old needle out and everything.
“And I think when you come back, no spoilers, but there were some who improved, they got better but there were some that thought, ‘Nah, I’m alright.’
“Some of them obviously were like, ‘Wow, okay, the standard is that good. I’m gonna do something about it,’ so I was disappointed that some of them hadn’t [done that], but wow – the ones that had – oh my god, mind-blowing.”
Michelle Visage added later, “The smart ones thought about it over the break, improved their craft and when they came back it was like, really things that we weren’t expecting.”
Drag Race UK: Queens on Lockdown airs on Friday 12th February, while Drag Race UK season 2 continues on Thursdays at 7pm on BBC iPlayer. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV Guide.