BBC bosses edit lyrics of Pogues' Christmas hit Fairytale of New York to avoid offence

BBC Radio 1 bosses have banned the original recording of Fairytale of New York and edited it in a bid to avoid offence.

The word “f****t” — sung by Kirsty MacColl in the 1987 Christmas classic — is changed to “haggard” while Shane MacGowan’s “slut” insult is muted.

The track is the most-played festive song in the 21st century — but its lyrics have recently sparked controversy.

A source said: “The feeling is that Radio 1’s listeners are younger and may not be as familiar with this song — so it has been decided that the lyrics should be edited.

“This Christmas, only the new version will be broadcast on Radio 1.”

An old recording of Kirsty — killed by a speedboat in 2000 — was used to change “you cheap lousy f****t” to “you’re cheap and you’re haggard”.

Meanwhile, Pogues frontman Shane’s barb that she’s “an old slut on junk” is also partly silenced.

The song got an unedited airing on last year’s Gavin and Stacey Christmas special, sparking hundreds of complaints from viewers.

The BBC defended the decision to broadcast the lyrics at the time.

In 2007, Radio 1 censored the song but its then-controller Andy Parfitt later said the decision was wrong.

The Radio 1 ban is not BBC-wide, it emerged after internal discussions.

Radio 2 has opted to air the song unchanged, while presenters on Radio 6 can choose which version to play.

Celebrate it

By Clemmie Moodie, Assistant Editor

IT’S not even December and the snowflakes are already out.

In yet another example of political correctness-lunacy, the BBC has decided to rewrite history.

After all, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without presents, mince pies and a toothless Shane MacGowan (assisted by Kirsty MacColl) warbling on about New York drunks.

As fans of Chaucer and Shakespeare will attest, “slut” was first used for a messy, slovenly woman. It may have different connotations now but who’s to say it wasn’t written as literature intended?

As for “faggot”, the BBC admitted that in the lyrics it was archaic Irish slang for a lazy person.

The song was of its time. We should celebrate, not airbrush, it.

It’s offensive

By Rod McPhee, Senior Showbiz reporter

IT’S an Eighties festive classic and a floor filler we NEVER want to lose.

Unfortunately, Fairytale of New York also contains two of the vilest words in the English language.

Tweaking the offending sections of the song isn’t political correctness gone mad, it’s a pretty sensible idea.

And no, it’s not just snowflakes hijacking our mother tongue.

There’s a whole Bernard Manning horror house of terms — many referencing ethnicity or religion — that we’d never use in 2020. So why is it OK to use a slur targeted at women and gay men?

Most people who defend words like s**t or f****t, don’t know the misery of being called one.

It’s still the same Fairytale of New York, just with a happier ending.

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