Drag SOS makeover show gives three Suffolk people a whole new look - and the NCFC Canary Fairy makes an appearance
PUBLISHED: 16:38 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 27 June 2019
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New TV makeover show that blends Queer Eye with RuPaul's Drag Race comes to Ipswich to give three people including Waterfront café a dramatic new drag persona to help them face the future and sashay through tough times.
Arriving in a glittery bus, the Family Gorgeous arrive in Ipswich to offer those in need of some extra sparkle in their lives a helping hand - and they quickly find a farmer stuck in a rut, a café owner keen to show her love for her soulmate and a teenager with big dreams who needs an injection of self-confidence.
The second episode of Drag SOS, Channel 4's new makeover show with a difference, was filmed in Suffolk and features three people from the county who sign up to be transformed into their drag queen alter egos for a fabulous performance in front of their friends and family - it will air on July 2 at 10pm.
Ipswich Waterfront Café owner Anna Matthews is visited by the Family Gorgeous and, after telling them how keen she is to show her husband Cliff how much she loves him, drag queens Cheddar Gorgeous, Anna Phylactic, Lil, TeTe Bang and Liquorice Black offer her a spectacular makeover, complete with a pastel pink dress fit for a royal wedding.
Tragically, since filming last November, Mr Matthews - a passionate cyclist and member of the Wolsey Road Club, passed away. He had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2017, had undergone a tough year of treatment including chemotherapy but secondary cancer was discovered in February and he died at home, with his family by his bedside, on March 22.
The couple, who have six children, opened the La Tour Cycle Café in July 2015 in Tower House as a place where cyclists could stop for a break on their travels - it moved to the Waterfront in May last year and is a much-loved community asset.
In The Ipswich Star in March, Mrs Matthews described her husband thus: "A generous, kind human who was always looking at the bigger picture. We as a family feel a sense of pride in being able to see the contribution he made to Ipswich and Suffolk - not only with the energy-from-waste plant but in the greenhouses of Sterling Suffolk and in cycling and encouraging people to become active, and challenging people on their use of the motor-car for everything.
"He was a true gent; a very loving man. He lived life to the full. With projects, for Cliff it wasn't about what he was going to gain personally. He'd got that bigger picture. He was a great father and will be sadly missed by us. But we feel he's here."
In the show, Anna is transformed into her drag alter ego and performs a song with fellow 'draglets' Brandon Yallop, 18 and Steve Swan, 59 at the Manor Ballroom in Ipswich.
Since he left school, Brandon has been working alongside his father and brother at RPC M&H Plastics, but he hopes that by finding his drag queen alter ego he'll also find the confidence to pursue his dream job, as a police dog-handler.
The Family Gorgeous visit Brandon at home in Beccles and meet Mum Tanya and Dad Shaun, who is the infamous tutu-wearing Canary Fairy who attends Norwich City's home games wearing a fetching yellow and green tutu along with his NCFC kit, who tell them their son just needs a shot of confidence.
Taking inspiration from the tattoos of Greek Gods Brandon has inked on his arm, the team transform him in their Drag Lab before inviting him to take part a stunning lip sync performance of Simply the Best choreographed by dance coach Astina Mandela, joined by Anna and Steve.
Yvonne contacted the show about husband Steve who she felt was stuck in his ways: it's fair to say that after a make-up and costume session with the Family Gorgeous and dance lessons from Astina, he is anything but…
Head of the family Cheddar is a university anthropologist by day, drag queen by night who trained to be a social worker and who believes that everybody can benefit from drag: "Whether you're male, female, straight or gay, old or young, drag is all about finding your most glamorous route to self-confidence," he said.
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"We all have a past, our own stories and drag is the most fabulous way to celebrate ourselves. People have come to us for all kinds of reasons, from bereavement to poor body image, drag is all about establishing identity and putting it centre stage."
* Drag SOS is on Channel 4 on Tuesday at 10pm.