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Russell Tovey to guest judge Drag Race UK series three

The Looking actor has been confirmed for the panel along with Lulu and Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan.

By Will Stroude

Words: Will Stroude; Images: Mark Cant and BBC Pictures

Russell Tovey says he feels like he’s “won a competition” after landing a guest judge spot on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series three.

The star of Looking and Years and Years has been announced as a guest panellist on the upcoming series of the BBC Three drag competition, which premieres next Thursday 23 September at 7pm BST on BBC iPlayer.

Tovey, 39, joins previously announced judges Alesha Dixon, Charity Shop Sue, Emma Bunton, Jay Revell, Judi Love, Kathy Burke, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Matt Lucas, Nadine Coyle, Oti Mabuse and Steps.

“It is such an inspirational show and to be a part of this magical world is sensational”, said Tovey in a statement, adding that his own drag name would be “Ruth Top Garden”.

Also confirmed to be joining the Drag Race UK panel as guest judges are Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan and pop music legend Lulu.

‘Shout’ singer Lulu, 72, declared in a statement: “During lockdown, [Drag Race UK] was one of the most fun, entertaining, glamorous, camp ways to spend an evening. After watching the show I always felt uplifted… it was THE BEST tonic!”

Meanwhile, Bridgerton actress Coughlan, who for years a been a vocal Drag Race fan, expressed her delight at finally achiecing her dream of making an appearance on the series.

“I have been a Drag Race megafan for the past ten years”, the star enthused. “It’s one of my favourite shows in the entire world. I’m obsessed with it and I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of it so when I found out that Drag Race was coming to the UK in the first place, I was like ‘Well my main goal in life is now to be a guest judge!’ so I was relentless about it!

Coughlan added: “I used to go to see all the queens when I had no money working as a waitress and I’d save up all of my money to see Shangela in The Black Cap in Camden so I felt very qualified. It was one of the best days of my life, I can’t lie!” 

RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series three premieres on BBC Three on the BBC iPlayer on Thursday 23 September at 7pm BST.