They took RuPaul from obscurity to global fame – inventing The Adam and Joe Show along the way. As Drag Race UK returns to the BBC, we talk to Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

More than 20 years before Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato launched RuPaul’s Drag Race under the banner of their World of Wonder production company, they spotted the future drag superstar in the lobby of the Marriott hotel in Times Square, New York. It was the mid-1980s, and the 6ft 4in RuPaul Charles was sporting football shoulder pads, thigh-high waders, a loincloth and a mohican.

“We were, like: ‘Oh my God,’” says Bailey. “There was simply nowhere else you could look.”

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