BBC Radio 2 backs down on ‘Fairytale of New York’ insulting attitude

The BBC has announced that Radio 2 will be playing an alternative Fairytale of New York for the 2022 holiday season.

Every year as the holiday season rolls around, the song grabs headlines for its lyrics, which include the word “f****t.”

The 1987 track, performed by Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues frontman Shane McGowan, is considered offensive due to the use of the word as a homophobic slur.

However, some argue that the song’s context means that the word should be interpreted as traditional Irish slang for a ‘lazy person’.

The ongoing debate has led to several radio stations deciding to play a version of the track with the line “you cheap, lousy f****t” replaced with “you’re cheap and you’re gaunt” at a live -Performed by MacColl before her death in December 2000.

Until recently, Radio 2 had retained the original text, although other BBC stations had opted to play the censored version. However, the channel’s bosses decided to play the alternative version this year.

This was announced by the BBC HuffPost UK: “On Radio 2 we are reflecting what we are hearing from many of our listeners who love the song but find some of the lyrics irritating in 2022 and play an alternative version provided by the record label.

“We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song that is most relevant to their audience.”

The Independent has asked Radio 2 for comment.

In 2019, the BBC was criticized when the word ended up in a G during a karaoke sceneAvin and Stacey Christmas special.

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Ruth Jones plays “Fairytale of New York” in “Gavin and Stacey”


Viewers were “offended” by writers James Corden and Ruth Jones’ decision to use the version with the word. It was subsequently sung by the characters Nessa (Jones) and Bryn (Rob Brydon).

At the time, Jones defended the use of the word, arguing that the moment was “true to the characters.”

She said, “Sign in Gavin & Stacey are kind and generous, I think. So I don’t think anyone will intentionally be hurtful. But for the same reason, they will not necessarily be fully politically correct or aware of political correctness.”

The BBC added: “[The track] is a very popular Christmas carol, widely played throughout the festive season, and the lyrics are well established with audiences.”

However, in 2020, the word was cut from the episode during a repeat show.

McGowan himself previously said he was “absolutely fine” when radio stations removed the word. BBC Radio 2 backs down on ‘Fairytale of New York’ insulting attitude


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