TThe Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
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Why is the BBC banning the Fairytale of New York lyrics?

BBC Radio 1 has decided to boycott the 'offensive' lyrics

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The original Fairytale of New York lyrics will be banned by the BBC this Christmas.

The BBC has announced it will not play the traditional version of the festive song by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.

Fairytale of New York performance on Top Of The Pops
The track is a Christmas classic (Credit: YouTube)

Why is the BBC choosing not to play the original version of the song?

The network revealed that younger listeners are particularly sensitive to derogatory terms, especially in regards to gender and sexuality.

Instead of playing the original lyrics, the broadcaster will play an edited version featuring new lines previously sung by MacColl.

She died in 2000.

Read more: BBC radio DJ bans Fairytale Of New York because its lyrics are ‘nasty’

The 1987 classic is still being played on other radio stations. DJs will have the choice between the original and the edited version.

A BBC spokesperson has 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.”

Fairytale of New York performance on Top Of The Pops
Radio 2 will play both versions of the song (Credit: YouTube)

What are the alternative lyrics?

The radio station has played the original song for the past few years, however, the insults that make up part of the lyrics have been criticised by listeners.

These lyrics are sung as part of a row between an alcoholic and a drug addict.

Read more: Alison Hammond to replace Rylan Clark-Neal on BBC Radio 2

The BBC has decided that younger listeners who may be unfamiliar with the song could find the wording offensive and insulting.

The station is also concerned that listeners may feel that the lyrics are outdated and inappropriate.

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.

The edited version alters two lines of the song. One of the new lines is “You’re cheap and you’re haggard”, which replaces a homophobic slur.

The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York has had a 2020 update (Credit: YouTube)

Has the track been censored before?

Back in 2007, Radio 1 censored the track. However, after an outcry from angry fans, the decision was reversed.

At the time, the station’s controller, Andy Parfitt, said the u-turn was a result of its audience being “smart enough to distinguish between maliciousness and creative freedom”.

He also said there was no “negative intent behind the use of the words”.

BBC Radio 2 has said it will play both versions of the song and will carefully monitor audience responses.

What version of the song would you like to hear? Let us know on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

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