BBC set to censor Pogues Christmas song due to offensive words


BBC Radio 1 will not play the original version of Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl this Christmas as it feels its audience may be offended by some of the lyrics.

The station said young listeners were particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality.


It will instead play an edited version with different lyrics sung by MacColl.

But the 1987 original will still be played on Radio 2, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two versions.

A BBC spokesperson: “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.”

Radio 1 has played the song in its original form in recent years, but the insults contained in the lyrics, sung in the form of a blazing row between an alcoholic and a heroin addict, have long been criticised by some.

The station has decided younger listeners who are unfamiliar with the track would find some of the words stark and not in line with what they would expect to hear on air.

The new edited version alters two lines – one swapped for an alternative version which the BBC says has been changed to “You’re cheap and you’re haggard in place of the word Fagxxt”

The other one, sung by Shane MacGowan in the second verse, has had a word removed entirely in the new edit.

The track was censored by Radio 1 back in 2007, but that decision was swiftly reversed after an outcry by its fans.

Andy Parfitt, the station’s controller at the time, explained the U-turn by saying its audiences were “smart enough to distinguish between maliciousness and creative freedom”, and there was no “negative intent behind the use of the words”.


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 Lead Correspondent | David Clews is the Lead Correspondent for UNN, with over 15 years of political experience and a wealth of social media and communication skills David gets to the heart of what is really important to the real people of the UK.



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