The BBC has announced that it will play an edited version of the Christmas classic, The Fairytale Of New York.
Without fail the song, which was first released in 1987 has caused an uproar every year in recent memory when it is played, in full, on radios in the UK, come to December-time.
The song has long offended many people in the gay community and finally, the BBC has said it will play an edit of the song which does not contain the slur “Faggot” on its youth-orientated radio station, Radio 1.
It will, however, continue to play the original version complete with the problematic lyric on its other mainstream radio station, Radio 2. DJs on 6 Music, will be able to choose from both versions.
On Radio 1 DJs will instead play an edited version, with a different lyric sung by one of the song’s singers, Kirsty MacColl, the corporation said. The addition lyric was sung by MacColl on Top Of The Pops in 1992, eight years before her death at the age of 41.
A BBC spokesman said, “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.”
This isn’t the first time that Radio 1 has used an edited version of the song. In 2007, the station censored the offending word, but soon reinstated it after a public backlash. So it will be interesting to see if a similar backlash happens in 2020.
What’s the problem with “Fairytale of New York”?
The problem with “Fairytale of New York” is the line, “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot.”
Some in the LGBT+ community find the word offensives, while others don’t.
The one key element is that songs that contain other offensives slurs often use edited versions, which either bleep out a slur or have another word dubbed in. Up until now, the original version of Fairytale Of New York did not have an edit to play.
Last year, there were hundreds of complaints after Gavin and Stacey characters Nessa and Bryn sung the unedited version in a Christmas special broadcast on the BBC.
In 2018 the song was crowned the nation’s favourite Christmas song.