Fairytale of New York: BBC defends decision to air censored version of The Pogues song on Radio 1

Roisin O'Connor
·1-min read
Shane MacGowan of the Pogues performing last night (Getty Images)
Shane MacGowan of the Pogues performing last night (Getty Images)

The BBC has defended its decision to air a censored version of “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues during the Chrismas period.

The broadcaster announced last week that an alternative version of the song would be played on Radio 1, in order to avoid offending the station’s younger audience.

In the original song, the late Kirsty MacColl and band frontman Shane MacGowan play a drunk couple fighting at Christmas.

In one line, MacColl brands MacGowan a “cheap lousy f****t” while he calls her a “slut”.

Radio 1’s edited version will feature the line “you’re cheap and you’re haggard”, while the word “slut” will be silenced.

The BBC has now issued a statement to Metro in response in which it explained why Radio 1 would air an edited version.

“We know ‘Fairytale of New York’ is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year on BBC Radio, with our stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience,” the statement said.

“We are aware that young audiences are particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality, and after considering this carefully, Radio 1 has decided to play a version featuring Kirsty MacColl singing alternative lyrics, provided by the record label.”

The Pogues have not commented directly on the choice to use a censored version of their song on Radio 1.

However, they did respond to Laurence Fox, who spoke out against the decision and said it was another reason to “defund the BBC”.

The Pogues, apparently not fans of the controversial actor, tweeted: “F*** off you herrenvolk s***e”.

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