BBC radio to play edited version of Fairytale Of New York

entertainment
Shane McGowan, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By Keiran Southern, PA

BBC Radio 1 will play an edited version of Christmas favourite Fairytale Of New York in a bid to avoid offending listeners.

The Pogues’ gritty festive hit with Kirsty MacColl is a Christmas staple, though in recent years it has been the focus of debate over its lyrics.

This year, Radio 1 will play an alternative version of the track, with the record label providing different lyrics sung by MacColl.

It is understood Radio 1 bosses were wary of offending younger listeners with derogatory terms for gender and sexuality.

Singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl performed Fairytale Of New York with the Pogues, but the Christmas staple has attracted controversy for its lyrics (James Arnold/PA)

Radio 2 will play the original song, but said it will continue to monitor listeners’ views. 6 Music said it has made an edited version available and will allow presenters to make the choice.

In a statement, the BBC said: “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.”

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Last year, the BBC defended using the unedited version of the 1987 song in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special.

The characters of Nessa Jenkins and Uncle Bryn sang it on the show.

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Gavin & Stacey co-creator Ruth Jones, who plays Nessa, also defended using the song.

She told The Sun: “It is a different climate. But we have to remain true to the characters, to who they were. Characters in Gavin & Stacey are kind and big-hearted, I believe.

“So I think no one is going to be intentionally hurtful. But by the same token, they’re not necessarily going to be completely politically correct or be aware of political correctness.”

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