Gavin & Stacey removes offensive ‘Fairytale of New York’ slur from Christmas Eve re-run

 (BBC/GS TV Productions Ltd/Tom Jackson)
(BBC/GS TV Productions Ltd/Tom Jackson)

A repeat of last year’s Gavin & Stacey Christmas special will be edited to remove an offensive slur from a scene featuring “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues.

The hit festive song has been at the centre of a controversy in recent years over the inclusion of a homophobic insult in one of its verses.

During a scene in the Christmas special, Bryn (Rob Brydon) and Nessa (Ruth Jones) are seen enjoying a karaoke singalong of Shane McGowan and Kirsty MacColl’s 1987 single.

The decision to include the original, uncensored version of the song – including the line sung by MacColl with the phrase “cheap lousy f*****” – meant that the episode received more than 800 complaints after it first aired.

The BBC defended the move at the time, saying in a statement: “While the word is now widely acknowledged as having the potential to offend, the song never suggests or implies that this is, or was ever, an appropriate way to address another person, nor does it link it to homosexuality.”

When the Christmas special re-airs tonight (24 December), it will no longer feature the offensive line. The decision was made by production company Fulwell 73.

In a statement, Fulwell 73 said: “In keeping with the programme’s themes of joy, love and inclusivity, Fulwell 73 have decided to re-edit the song. We are grateful to the BBC for allowing us to make this change.”

In response, a BBC spokesperson told The Independent: “We respect their decision to make the edit. Attitudes can change over time and we appreciate that language is a sensitive and important topic for some people.”

Earlier this year, the BBC announced it would play the censored version of “Fairytale of New York” on BBC Radio 1, while Radio 2 would air the original. DJs on Radio 6 are being given licence to choose which version of the song they play.

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