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BBC defends using homophobic slur in Gavin and Stacey Christmas Day special

Emma Powys Maurice December 26, 2019
Gavin and Stacey

BBC bosses defended the decision to broadcast the uncensored version of 'Fairytale of New York' in Gavin and Stacey (BBC)

The BBC has defended the inclusion of the homophobic slur ‘f****t’ in the Gavin and Stacey special which aired on Christmas Day.

Fans were appalled when the show’s karaoke duo, Bryn and Nessa, inexplicably opted to sing an uncensored version of the festive song ‘Fairytale of New York’.

The song has grown particularly controversial in recent years, with many suggesting that the outdated slur should be cut and replaced with a word that doesn’t evoke memories of abuse and trauma for many LGBT+ people.

But BBC bosses have thrown their support behind show creators James Corden and Ruth Jones, who made the decision to include the song in the Christmas Day special.

A BBC spokesperson told the Metro: “‘Fairytale of New York’ is a very popular, much-loved Christmas song played widely throughout the festive season, and the lyrics are well-established with the audience.”

When asked by The Sun if she and Corden had considered a backlash, Jones replied: “It is a different climate. But we have to remain true to the characters, to who they were.

“Characters in Gavin and Stacey are kind and big-hearted, I believe. So I think no one is going to be intentionally hurtful. But by the same token, they’re not necessarily going to be completely politically correct or be aware of political correctness.”

But many in the LGBT+ community disagreed with the song choice, including LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell, who said the BBC’s use of the expletive version would “send completely the wrong signal” and “give comfort to homophobes everywhere.”

He told The Times: “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?”

Others have questioned the nature of the BBC’s response, which was reportedly prepared as a press release ahead of time, suggesting that the broadcaster was aware they were courting controversy at the expense of LGBT+ people and opted to do so anyway.

The trans political activist Christine Burns said that the move was “calculated.”

And journalist James Ball judged it “a cynical engineered row” designed to generate media coverage and feed a “PC gone mad” narrative.

More: BBC, Gavin and Stacey, James Corden, Peter Tatchell, Ruth Jones

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