Fairytale of New York: BBC Radio 1 to air censored version while Radio 2 opts for original

Fairytale of New York: BBC Radio 1 to air censored version while Radio 2 opts for original

Fairytale of New York: BBC Radio 1 to air censored version while Radio 2 opts for original

Fairytale of New York: BBC Radio 1 to air censored version while Radio 2 opts for original

The festive track has been at the centre of debate for many years due to Kirsty MacColl’s verse, which includes the line: “You scumbag, you maggot / You cheap lousy f****t.”

On Thursday (19 November), it was announced that BBC Radio 1 will this year air a censored version in which the word “f****t” is removed from the song, and replaced with the lyric: “You’re cheap and you’re haggard”. The word “slut”, sung by The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan, will be silenced.

Meanwhile, Radio 2 will air the original version, while DJs at 6 Music will be able to choose which version they play.

“We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience,” a BBC spokesperson said.

While there have been frequent debates as to the meaning of the word “f****t” in the context of the song, the word is used as a homophobic slur in 2020. 

The use draw more than 800 complaints but was defended by the BBC, who said: “‘Fairytale of New York’ is a very popular, much-loved Christmas song played widely throughout the festive season, and the lyrics are well established with the audience.”

MacGowan defended the song in 2019, telling Ireland’s Late Late Show: “I’ve been told it’s insulting to gays. I don’t understand how that works. Nobody in the band thinks that’s worth a second’s thought.”


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