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BBC will not censor ‘f****t’ from Fairytale of New York in Gavin & Stacey Christmas special

Vic Parsons December 22, 2019
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Tory MP anger: Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan originally sang 'Fairytale of New York'. (Tim Roney/Getty Images)

Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan originally sang 'Fairytale of New York'. (Tim Roney/Getty Images)

The Gavin & Stacey Christmas special is proving controversial before even airing, due to the inclusion of the f-word from the Pogues’ Fairytale of New York.

The debate over whether the homophobic slur should be censored from the Christmas song erupts every year.

Predictably, the BBC has been accused of normalising homophobic language with its decision not to censor the word “faggot” from Fairytale of New York in the eagerly anticipated Gavin & Stacey Christmas special.

Rob Brydon (Uncle Bryn) and Ruth Jones (Nessa) will sing the duet, originally performed by Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl’s band the Pogues in their 1987 Christmas hit, in the one-off special that will air on Christmas Day evening on BBC One.

Longtime LGBT+ rights campaigner and advocate Peter Tatchell told The Times he objects to the use of the word.

“The BBC would not screen a Christmas song with the n-word in it. It would be deemed deeply prejudiced and unacceptable. So why the double standards when it comes to the f-word?” Tatchell said.

The 67-year-old, a leading member of the Gay Liberation Front and one of the organisers of the first-ever Gay Pride march in the UK, in 1972, urged the BBC to reconsider its decision not to censor the f-word, because it’s “pejorative against the LGBT community”.

He added: “It would send completely the wrong signal. It will give comfort to homophobes everywhere.”

But the BBC defended its decision, saying that the lyrics are aired unedited on national and regional radio stations throughout the festive season.

The Gavin & Stacey cast and crew reportedly liked their version of Fairytale of New York so much that they considered releasing it as a Christmas single.

But fans have said that comedy writers James Corden and Ruth Jones, who wrote and star in Gavin & Stacey, could have replaced the slur with a funnier, non-slur line.

One social-media user proposed the line should be changed to: “You scumbag, you maggot, you’ve taped over Taggart.”


Related topics: BBC, Fairytale of New York, gavin & stacey, the pogues

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