BBC Radio 1 will not play the original version of Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl this Christmas, seemingly because it thinks its audience of snowflakes will be easily offended by the lyrics.
Radio 1 said young
listeners were particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality. It will instead play an edited version with different lyrics sung by MacColl. A BBC spokesman said:
The new edited version changes two lines - one swapped for an alternative version in
which MacColl sings You're cheap and you're haggard in place of You cheap lousy faggot.
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.
In Radio 1's newly-edited version, another unspecified line, sung by Shane MacGowan in the second verse, has a
word removed entirely.
But the 1987 original will still be played on Radio 2, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two versions.
The duet is one of the most enduring Christmas pop songs, having returned to the UK top 20 every year since
2005. MacColl originally sang the censored line on Top of the Pops in 1992. The same wording was used by Ronan Keating and Moya Brennan in their 2000 cover version. When Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie performed the song in Radio 1's Live Lounge in
2017, she opted to call him a cheap lousy blagger.