The simple reason why the actual Lily Savage will never, ever appear on Drag Race UK

Lily Savage and Ellie Diamond

Lily Savage on Drag Race UK? They said it would never happen…

Drag Race UK sashayed back onto screens Thursday (14 January) with an unexpected cameo – of sorts.

Lily Savage made an appearance on the runway, with Dundee queen Ellie Diamond doing her best impression of Paul O’Grady’s drag persona for the UK gay icon challenge.

“Lily Savage, to me, is the queer icon of her time,” Ellie said in the confessional booth.

Judge Michelle Visage was more to the point as she applauded Ellie’s glammed-up interpretation: “It was how Lily wishes she’d looked.”

Shady? Slightly, yes, but Michelle can hardly be blamed when you consider the bad blood between Lily and the show.

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Up until the announcement that RuPaul would be fronting Drag Race UK herself, Lily’s name was often floated as a potential host for a British spin-off.

Paul O’Grady retired the persona to “a convent in Brittany” in the mid ’00s, but that didn’t stop speculation running rampant as Drag Race became a bona fide phenomenon.

As undoubtedly the UK’s most famous drag queen, hosting primetime shows such as Blankety Blank in the ’90s, she seemed a perfect fit for the TV behemoth.

In 2017, O’Grady was asked about the show, telling the BBC’s Ben Hunte: “No, I can’t bear it. No really I can’t.

“That’s not drag! It’s all about shading and contouring your face now and being like supermodels.”

He continued: “In my day we had the likes of Phil Starr, who was a glorious comedian… we had Marc Fleming, Auntie Flo, Mrs Shufflewick. We had great comedians in drag.

“This new brigade who just parade around going, sashay, shantay – that’s not drag to me.”

When it was put to him that Drag Race had given drag a new platform, outside of queer venues and further into the mainstream, he replied: “I always believed Lily Savage belonged in a pub, especially a gay bar, where you could rant and rave.”

In other words, don’t expect the actual Lily Savage to actually pop up on Drag Race UK any time soon.

You can read all of the PinkNews coverage of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK season two here.