very year, fans ofpatiently wait for one thing: that mid-point episode in the series when the queens play the Snatch Game.
This mega maxi-challenge has become legendary, but if you have no idea what we’re talking about, let us explain. The Snatch Game requires each of the drag queens to choose a figure from popular culture to play as a character in a gameshow. It’s basically Blankety Blank but in actual fact no one really understands what the rules are. They’re basically irrelevant anyway, because the queens are being judged on whether they make Ru and the celebrity contestants (Gemma Collins this year) laugh, or whether everyone feels awkward and doesn’t know where to look.
Making the right character choice is crucial. Get it right and do it well and you’ll go down as Drag Race royalty forever; get it wrong and you’ll be desperately making innuendos about sausage rolls in an effort to save face.
Since Drag Race first started in the US in 2009, there have been glorious Snatch Game highs, and some utterly cringey lows. From Ben De La Crème’s inspired version of Dame Maggie Smith to Kenya Michaels widely panned farting and snoring Beyonce, the queens have parodied everyone – including, sometimes, each other.
This week, it’s the turn of the Drag UK series 2 queens to try their hand at Snatch Game. As ever, there are star performances and surprise flops, so to mark the occasion, we’ve come up with our ownedition of Snatch Game performances – ranked.
14. Sum Ting Wong – David Attenborough (UK series one)
Stumped about which character to choose, Sum Ting Wong opted for the godfather of nature David Attenborough over the quite literally made for Snatch Game sensual goddess Nigella Lawson. It was not a wise decision. She made the schoolboy Snatch Game error and simply did an impersonation of Attenborough and his awestruck attitude towards rhinos, without adding any mischief or comedic spin, and ended up sashaying away at the end of the episode.
13. Tia Kofi – Mel B (series two)
Tia’s deadpan one-liners have been one of season two’s highlights (the grim acceptance of “I am serving you an adequate dress made of material that is on my body” sums up our lockdown mood nicely) so it was a surprise to see this comedy queen flounder in a challenge that should have played to her strengths. Her Scary Spice schtick relied on the same Eddie Murphy gag over and over again, leaving this impression sadly lacking in zig-a-zig-ah. Perhaps she’d have fared better if she’d stuck with Shirley Bassey.
12. Crystal – Rue McClanahan (series one)
The trick to a slightly left-field Snatch Game character is that it should be entertaining, regardless of whether everyone knows the person that you’re spoofing. Crystal’s slightly niche choice to go for Golden Girls star Rue McClanahan didn’t really work on this count, plus in her attempts to bounce off the other characters she was muscled out by louder, more confident queens like The Vivienne. It wasn’t a huge surprise that she landed in the bottom two that week, but she at least deserves credit for the line “What do I know? I’m dead. Thanks, syphilis.”
11. Lawrence Chaney – Miriam Margolyes (series two)
Miriam Margolyes is an absolute hoot (see any one of her outrageous chat show appearances for proof) – and so is comedy queen and Ru Peter badge hoarder Lawrence Chaney, meaning that on paper this seemed like a match made in Snatch Game heaven. Our Glaswegian queen captured much of the theatrical intensity of this ‘thespian lesbian’, but the anecdotes about Laurence Olivier and co seemed to drag on longer than an unabridged performance of Hamlet.
10. Sister Sister – Sally Morgan (series two)
Choosing the perfect Snatch Game alter ego is a real balancing act. You want someone who is instantly recognisable (if we don’t know the character, the punchlines can fall flat) but hasn’t been endlessly parodied elsewhere (see also: Tia as Mel B). Sister’s decision to mimic Sally Morgan, aka Britain’s ‘best loved psychic,’ felt a bit too left field to win over Ru and co, and her own accent kept creeping in – though her mid-game message from beyond the grave was inspired.
9. A’Whora – Louie Spence (series two)
Larger-than-life former artistic director of Pineapple Dance Studios and Dancing on Ice judge Louie Spence is ripe for parody. Fresh from her successful improv as an OTT Essex girl in the morning TV challenge, A’Whora gave this her all – but possibly went a bit too far with that over-exaggerated lisp. Still, no one ever said the Snatch Game was about understatement, and the appearance of her ‘flexible’ dancer’s legs was a great visual gag.
8. Davina DiCampo – Julia Child (series one)
One of the smartest and funniest queens of season one, Davina should have had Snatch Game sewn up. But her tendency to help out her castmates ended up backfiring big time here, when it turned out she and Baga were both planning to do Margaret Thatcher. Not only did Davina give ground but she lent Baga her own Maggie outfit. Her back-up option was American cookery legend Julia Child who, although the subject of a Meryl Streep biopic, wasn’t really known enough here for the impression to cut through. Although she played the character with subtle wit, we all know that Snatch Game is not about subtlety. “Did you enjoy Snatch Game?” Ru asked on the runway, only for Davina to reply, “er… I think enjoy is a strong word. It happened. I was there.”
7. Ellie Diamond – Vicky Pollard/Matt Lucas (series two)
“Ellie, you’re not terribly funny,” said Lawrence Chaney with foreboding in the workroom. Which is probably why Ellie wisely chose to bring her well-practised Vicky Pollard impression to the Snatch Game. Although she didn’t add anything particularly new to the character, she had everything down perfectly from her ‘yeah-but-no-buts’ to Pollard’s three shades too dark lip-liner. We’ve seen stronger queens flop at the Snatch Game for choosing the wrong character, and Ellie’s decision to stick with what she knew was a smart one.
6. Blu Hydrangea – Mary Berry (series one)
Blu’s Snatch Game tactic was classic for queens who aren’t quite sure what to do with their character: just make everything they say ludicrously filthy. While Mary Berry was an inspired choice – although, like guest judge Alan Carr, we’re not quite sure why she gave her a hump – there’s only so many times we want to imagine our beloved cake baker using the word ‘poonanny’. “Maarrr-yyy!” gasped outraged guest contestant Lorraine Kelly to one of her answers, which is too rude to repeat in a family newspaper.
5. Cheryl Hole – The GC (series one)
Meme queen and ultimate hun Gemma Collins is one of the most quotable women on British telly, making her perfect Snatch Game material – and who better to take her on than Essex’s finest, Cheryl Hole? Cheryl nailed (seriously, look at those talons) the telltale GC mannerisms we know and love, but her hair definitely looked like it’d been near some straighteners – and we all know the GC only uses heated rollers, babe (“straighteners are what f**king weirdos use on their hair.”)
4. Tayce – Jane Turner (series two)
s cheerful, catchphrase-laden take on Aussie comedy star Jane Turner (aka Kath of Kath and Kim fame) felt effortlessly funny, especially compared to some OTT turns from her fellow queens. Her ‘chooky neck’ spiel, complete with chicken impression, was comedy gold – and as for Tayce somehow still managing to look radiant in a blonde bubble wig, patterned shell suit and green eyeshadow? We can only say: the cheek, the nerve, the gall, the audacity and the gumption.
3. The Vivienne – Donald Trump (series one)
“No collusion – especially not with Russia and definitely not with Chyyy-na!” Eventual series one winner The Vivienne’s impression of the 45th President of the United States was uncanny, from the grimacing pronunciation to the upward-pointing fingers. Unafraid to go off-script, Viv ended up forming a hysterical – and completely terrifying – right-wing double-act with Baga Chipz’s Iron Lady, volleying one-liners and double entendres across the studio. That said, we’d have loved to see her give that uncanny Kim Woodburn impression some more air time – perhaps one for the inevitable UK All Stars series?
2. Baga Chipz – Margaret Thatcher (series one)
With red demon eyes, buck teeth and a cross-eyed stare, Baga’s turn as the lady who’s not for turning made her Snatch Game royalty. Every answer was perfect, from “Belgrano Spice – like the ship, she likes to go down” or, quite simply, “REDUNDANCY!” Knowingly on the nose – “we must bugger the miners! More money for the rich, and less for the poor!” she declared with glee – and deliciously over the top, it was 100% Baga, gloriously too much and still we wanted more.
1.Bimini Bon Boulash – Katie Price (series two)
Never underestimate The Pricey. Or should we say The Pwicey. Bimini nailed Katie Price’s voice, her look (no one else wears a tiara and a tracksuit together) and her personality, effortlessly combining her ability to be both no-nonsense and come-hither all at the same time. She picked the most British of icons and wiped the floor with the other queens, uttering lines like “you know what they say Ru… the eyes are the nipples of the face” that left everyone in the room howling with laughter. It was… pwerfect. The Pricey would be proud.
A new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK is released on BBC iPlayer every Thursday at 7pm
Domina: Target on feminine working experience provides this period piece depth
hen the younger Livia () learns that she is expecting with her second kid, she goes on a rampage, smashing up a domestic shrine in advance of running into the sea to scream at the heavens, asking the gods what she has completed to are entitled to this. Afterwards, when Octavia, one more young lady with immaculately Babylissed curls, discovers she is about to be married off in a politically expedient union, she seems fatigued. She’d “hoped to be left by itself for a whilst at least” just after giving birth to two infants in two many years – and a further marriage inevitably means a lot more pregnancies. “You usually get worried each delivery will be your final,” she says.
In Domina, the huge budget new time period drama from Sky checking out the, we are repeatedly revealed that for ladies, Roman everyday living was garbage. Their key purpose was to pop out heirs, but supplying delivery was painful (“like shitting out a statue,” as 1 new mom places it) and perilous. It’s no surprise that the show’s younger heroines are less than thrilled when they discover they’re knocked up. These signposts are about as delicate as teenage Livia’s go-to strategy of fending off an assassin in the opening times of episode one particular (she bashes him more than the head with a massive rock, numerous periods) but they definitely increase an attention-grabbing dimension to the show’s depiction of woman electric power in historic Rome.
Writer Simon Burke keeps reminding us that no matter what political affect and position an educated female like Livia may hope to maintain – more than their fathers, husbands or the country by itself – their lives had been generally contingent and fragile. The girlboss-ification of woman figures from heritage is huge company proper now, but this stress, captured in potent performances from Parkes and Kasia Smutniak (who plays the more mature Livia from episode three onwards), provides the title character nuance – and, crucially, stops her from emotion like just yet another identikit badass girl on a horse.
As the collection opens, our teenage heroine, whose enlightened dad Livius (performed by Liam Cunningham) has finished the unthinkable and educated his daughter, is about to be married off to the distinctly underwhelming Nero (not the famed just one). Their wedding, a single of several beautifully turned-out established items, is marked by snatched, furtive discussions concerning adult men in togas: the demise of Julius Caesar has left a electrical power vacuum, and his son Gaius (the upcoming Caesar Augustus) is desperate to fill it, while republicans like Livius favour a additional democratic established-up. Amid all the skulduggery, while, there’s time for some small communicate about Roman plumbing: “We got linked to the aqueduct final calendar year!” Livius tells Gaius (Tom Glynn-Carney, unrecognisable from his convert as Mark Rylance’s angelic sidekick in Dunkirk many thanks to a black wig that screams My Chemical Romance circa 2006) when he accosts him in the toilet.
From right here, the plot sets off at a breakneck rate, sprinting through broad swathes of background. When a selling price is put on his head, Livius flees to Greece, Livia and Nero go on the operate, then are referred to as back again to Rome, in which she commences a new romance with Gaius (significantly to the chagrin of his wife Scribonia). In episode 3, there is a finish transform of cast as the motion skips ahead 12 years, with a expecting Livia (Smutniak) vying to secure her now-husband (Matthew McNulty)’s electricity foundation in the Senate.
With frequent leaps forward in time, the dialogue generally strains under the excess weight of all the exposition that is essential to maintain us up to velocity (this ponderousness is not helped by the Roman tendency to give essential males several names), but for each individual potted history, there is a memorable, zingy line, like Livia’s response when she overhears Octavia and Scribonia mocking her at her very own wedding. “I’m youthful, prettier and richer than you, so why are you laughing at me?” she fumes, like a BC Blair Waldorf.
Cramming Livia’s prolonged, interesting life into just 8 episodes is an ambitious enterprise, so whilst Domina’s shifts in tone are relentless and often jarring, it is under no circumstances boring, The blend of significant drama and even higher creation values is generally an desirable just one, making this an entertaining spin on historic Rome, given depth by its compelling heroine.
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