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01st Dec 2022

BBC Radio confirms it will not play the original version of ‘Fairytale of New York’ this Christmas

Charlie Herbert

Radio 2 playing censored Fairytale of new York

The BBC said that listeners find the lyrics ‘jarring’ in 2022

BBC Radio 2 has confirmed that it will not play the original version of ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues this Christmas.

The 1987 song, which is performed by The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and singer Kirsty MacColl, creates headlines every festive season because one of the lyrics contains the word ‘fa***t’, which is a homophobic slur.

Some consider the censorship of the word to be an example of so-called ‘cancel culture.’ This is despite the fact that hundreds of swear words and offensive lyrics are removed from songs when they’re played on the radio all year.

And others argue that the context of the song means the word should be interpreted as traditional Irish slang for a lazy person.

In recent years, a number of radio stations have decided to play the censored version of the song.

This year will be the first time though that Radio 2 decides not to play the original version of the song.

The edited version of the song sees the line ‘you’re drunk and you’re haggard’, taken from a live MacColl performance in 2000, replace the line that includes the homophobic slur.

The BBC told HuffPost UK: “On Radio 2 we are reflecting what we are hearing back from many of our listeners who love the song, but find some of the lyrics jarring in 2022, and playing an alternative version provided by the record company.

“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.”

The lead singer of the Pogues, Shane McGowan, has previously said he is “absolutely fine” with radio stations removing the slur from the song.

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