RADIO 1 EDIT ‘FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK’ BLOG Thursday 26th November 2020


Presenters for BBC Radio 1 must play an edited version of Fairytale of New York

‘Haggard’ in place of ‘f****t’ and the word ‘sl*t’ is muted, the corporation has said

Radio 2 will still play the 1987 original, while 6 Music DJs can decide themselves


The Pogues have furiously told actor Laurence Fox to ‘f*** off’ amid a BBC censorship row over the lyrics of Christmas classic Fairytale of New York.  

The 1987 Christmas song has long been condemned for containing a homophobic slur, but Mr Fox today criticised the BBC’s decision to censor some of the divisive lyrics.

BBC Radio 2 will continue to play Fairytale of New York uncensored while Radio 1 will use an alternative version to avoid offending younger audiences who are ‘particularly sensitive’ to the original’s ‘stark’ language.

The station decided to edit the words ‘f****t’ and ‘sl*t’ from the track – sung by Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl – over concerns listeners would be offended by ‘derogatory terms for gender and sexuality’.

Adopting the characters of an argumentative but sentimental married couple, MacColl sings to Shane MacGowan: “You scumbag, you maggot / You cheap lousy faggot / Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it’s our last.”

The new Radio 1 version will have the line “you’re cheap and you’re haggard”, with the word “slut” earlier in the verse silenced. The rest of the song remains unchanged.

BBC Radio 1 decided to edit the words ‘f****t’ and ‘sl*t’ from the track – sung by Pogues frontman Shane

The actor tweeted about the issue: ‘The cultural commissars at the @BBC are telling you what is and isn’t appropriate for your ignorant little ears. Wouldn’t it be nice if we sent the (proper) version to the top of the charts? #DefundTheBBC. RT.’

The Pogues retweeted Mr Fox and wrote: ‘F**k off you little herrenvolk s***e.’

The term ‘herrenvolk’ means ‘a race, nation, or group, such as the Germans or Nazis as viewed by Hitler, believed to be superior to other races.’

Fox responded to the tweet saying: ‘I had to google “Herrenvolk” which would imply that I possibly ain’t the “Herrenvolk”.’ 

The controversial lyrics appeared in Radio 1’s version of Fairytale of New York in 2019, but this year an older version will be played in which MacColl sings ‘haggard’ rather than ‘f***ot’. The word ‘sl*t’ will be muted. 

The 1987 original will still be played on Radio 2, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two versions.

Insiders at Radio 1 told MailOnline the move was a response to concerns hearing the words ‘sl*t’ and ‘f***ot’ on BBC Radio 1 would not ‘meet the expectations’ of its listeners.

Another insider told The Sun: ‘The feeling is that Radio 1’s listeners are younger and may not be as familiar with this song — so it has been decided that the lyrics should be edited. This Christmas only the new version will be broadcast on Radio 1.’

Radio 1’s decision sparked a backlash today.

Fraser Myers, 29, a staff writer at Spiked, told MailOnline: ‘When the BBC talks about ‘young people’, it’s referring to a tiny minority of vocal, middle-class bores.

‘Last time I checked, normal young people are still into sex, drugs and drill music and are not offended by un-PC language.

Shane Macgowan has defended the use of language in the song, saying in 2017: ‘The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character.

‘She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person. She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate.’ 

The broadcaster’s unedited use of Fairytale of New York has caused controversy in recent years, with a performance of the track in last year’s Gavin and Stacey Christmas special receiving 866 complaints.

The one-off episode was watched by 11.6million viewers when it aired, but some were upset when the slur ‘f****t’ was not omitted from Nessa and Bryn’s rendition.

However, the BBC defended the use of the expletive at the time, claiming when The Pogues wrote the song in 1987 the word was not linked to homosexuality.   

A spokesman said: ‘The descent of their relationship is reflected in the increasingly abusive and offensive terms they use to address each other; insults which are intended to reflect the language that such characters might have used in that era.

‘The origin of the word includes a definition which describes it as a contemptuous and antiquated word for laziness, and the author of the song has cited this inference behind his inclusion of that line.

‘While the word ‘f****t’ is now widely acknowledged as having the potential to offend, the song never suggests or implies that this is, or was ever, an appropriate way to address another person, nor does it link it to homosexuality.’

Last December, DJ Alex Dyke, 57, ranted to BBC listeners that he was ‘no longer comfortable’ with having the ‘nasty’ Pogues’ festive hit on his playlist.

Prior to hosting a show on BBC Radio Solent, Dyke had tweeted that he wanted the song – regularly voted the nation’s favourite Christmas number – banned, sharing some of the lyrics he had taken offence at.

A BBC spokesperson commented: ‘This was Alex’s decision. There is no ban. We have a strict music policy that we expect to be followed.’ 

Fairytale of New York has sold close to 1.5 million copies and is officially the UK’s most played Christmas song.

In 2007, BBC Radio 1 edited out the controversial words from the song.

But the station quickly backtracked on the decision following a backlash from listeners.

The BBC said today: ‘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.’

Radio 2 said: ‘We have considered this issue very carefully and have decided to play the original song. As always, we will continue to monitor our listeners’ views on the lyrics of this very popular Christmas song.’

And 6 Music added: ‘The Fairytale of New York was made in a moment of time and times change. As we’re a radio station for every music lover, we have made an edited version available as well as the original, so presenters have the choice.’

YouGov Daily the polling organisation did a poll on the subject and this is the result.

                Brits say Radio 1 has made the wrong decision to air altered “Fairytale of New York”      

                Welcome to YouGov Daily, where we bring you new data every day on health, politics, entertainment, and other topical issues.

                The Pogues: BBC Radio 1 has announced it will play an edited version of “Fairytale of New York”, altering two lines of the original song that include language that some listeners might find offensive – but do Brits think it’s the right call to do so?     

  • The majority (63%) think it’s the wrong decision, while 14% think Radio 1 has made the right choice in not airing the original wording of the song      
  • This opinion is broadly consistent among the age groups, however adults aged 18 to 24 (25%) are most likely to say it’s the right decision, compared to 9% of the 50-64-year olds who are the least likely





“Don’t write what you think people want to read. Find your voice and write about what’s in your heart.”

— Quentin Tarantino.


Happiness is…the original version of The Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl


How did Darth Vader know what Luke got him for Christmas? He felt his presents.


Love is…sleeping partners


A time to listen to Christmas Music…A time not to listen to Christmas Music


I am so grateful for and love The Pogues and and the late Kirsty MacColl


The Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl

“Fairytale of New York” is a song written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan and recorded by their band the Pogues, featuring singer-songwriter Kirsty MacColl on vocals. The song is an Irish folk-style ballad and was written as a duet, with the Pogues’ singer MacGowan taking the role of the male character and MacColl the female character. It was originally released as a single on 23 November 1987 and later featured on the Pogues’ 1988 album If I Should Fall from Grace with God.

Originally begun in 1985, the song had a troubled two-year development history, undergoing rewrites and aborted attempts at recording, and losing its original female vocalist along the way, before finally being completed in August 1987. Although the single never reached the coveted UK Christmas number one, being kept at number two on its original release in 1987 by the Pet Shop Boys’ cover version of “Always on My Mind”, it has proved enduringly popular with both music critics and the public: to date the song has reached the UK Top 20 on fifteen separate occasions since its original release in 1987, including every year since 2005, and was certified triple platinum in the UK in 2019. As of September 2017 the song has sold 1,217,112 copies in the UK, with an additional 249,626 streaming equivalent sales, for a total of 1,466,737 combined sales.

In the UK, “Fairytale of New York” is the most-played Christmas song of the 21st century. It is frequently cited as the best Christmas song of all time in various television, radio and magazine related polls in the UK and Ireland; including the UK television special on ITV in December 2012 where it was voted The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Song.


WATCH your children’s faces light up this Christmas by buying them a torch.


Wednesday 25/11/2020 DAY 235 – 12 Times – 120 Feet  Cum Total – 28,200 Feet – (Goal 29,035 Ft)








©2020 Phil M Robinson