You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

BBC reconsiders ‘Fairytale’ censorship

Decision to cut vulgar words met with criticism

BBC execs rediscovered some Christmas cheer and rethought their plans to censor “Fairytale of New York,” a festive fave as ubiquitous in Blighty as mince pies.

The song, written and recorded by Irish musicians the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl two decades ago and a staple of yuletide festivities, is much-cherished for its salty, unsentimental lyrics. “You scumbag, you maggot,” sings MacColl during one of the duet’s more memorable refrains.

Execs at the BBC’s flagship Radio 1 provoked an outcry, however, when they decided to cut the “F” word, despite years of being aired in its entirety. Also nixed was Pogues’ frontman and songwriter Shane MacGowan’s riposte of “an old slut on junk.”

“Gratuitous vulgarity” and “unnecessary” came the cries from Radio 1 reps wheeled out by the Brit pubcaster to defend its decision.

The decision was met with bemusement and criticism all around, including MacColl’s mother, Jean, and Radio 1 breakfast DJ Chris Moyles. Even sister channel Radio 2 ignored the ban by continuing to air the song uncut.

And so the inevitable happened. “The unedited version will be played from now on,” said Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt.

The song, which only made it to No. 2 in the U.K. charts when released in 1987, has been re-issued in the hope that it will finally make it to the top of the charts this year.

More News

  • Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Photos by

    Diana Ross Lights Up the Hollywood Bowl for Season Opener

    BBC execs rediscovered some Christmas cheer and rethought their plans to censor “Fairytale of New York,” a festive fave as ubiquitous in Blighty as mince pies. The song, written and recorded by Irish musicians the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl two decades ago and a staple of yuletide festivities, is much-cherished for its salty, […]

  • Brandon Flynn, Timothy Granaderos, Alisha Boe,

    Alisha Boe Says Brock Turner Case Was Her 'Bible' for '13 Reasons Why' Season 2

    BBC execs rediscovered some Christmas cheer and rethought their plans to censor “Fairytale of New York,” a festive fave as ubiquitous in Blighty as mince pies. The song, written and recorded by Irish musicians the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl two decades ago and a staple of yuletide festivities, is much-cherished for its salty, […]

  • Yara ShahidiMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    Yara Shahidi, Noah Schnapp, More Talk the Dangers of Social Media at MTV Awards

    BBC execs rediscovered some Christmas cheer and rethought their plans to censor “Fairytale of New York,” a festive fave as ubiquitous in Blighty as mince pies. The song, written and recorded by Irish musicians the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl two decades ago and a staple of yuletide festivities, is much-cherished for its salty, […]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Sayles/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Martin Bregman, 'Scarface' Producer, Dies at 92

    BBC execs rediscovered some Christmas cheer and rethought their plans to censor “Fairytale of New York,” a festive fave as ubiquitous in Blighty as mince pies. The song, written and recorded by Irish musicians the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl two decades ago and a staple of yuletide festivities, is much-cherished for its salty, […]

  • SUPER FAMILY -- In Disney Pixar’s

    Box Office: 'Incredibles 2' Shatters Records With Heroic $180 Million Opening

    BBC execs rediscovered some Christmas cheer and rethought their plans to censor “Fairytale of New York,” a festive fave as ubiquitous in Blighty as mince pies. The song, written and recorded by Irish musicians the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl two decades ago and a staple of yuletide festivities, is much-cherished for its salty, […]

  • MEET THE PRESS -- Pictured: (l-r)

    'Meet the Press' to Collaborate with AFI for Expanded Film Festival

    BBC execs rediscovered some Christmas cheer and rethought their plans to censor “Fairytale of New York,” a festive fave as ubiquitous in Blighty as mince pies. The song, written and recorded by Irish musicians the Pogues and the late Kirsty MacColl two decades ago and a staple of yuletide festivities, is much-cherished for its salty, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content