Originally released by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl in 1987, Fairytale Of New York has been a festive favourite for the past 35 years, although some of its lyrics have raised eyebrows.
Because of this, many radio stations have made the decision to play an alternate version of the track in recent years, which replaces the line “you cheap, lousy f****t” with “you’re cheap and you’re haggard”.
The new edit still features vocals Kirsty MacColl, who used the updated lyric while performing Fairytale Of New York live in her later years.
Back in 2020, the BBC raised eyebrows when it was announced that Radio 1 would be playing the censored version, while Radio 2 would continue to air the edit with the slur intact.
However, it’s now been confirmed that Radio 2 bosses have chosen to play the censored edit in 2022, while other BBC stations will “choose the version of the song most relevant for their audience”.
“We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience,” a BBC rep told HuffPost UK.
“On Radio 2 we are reflecting what we are hearing back from many of our listeners who love the song, but find some of the lyrics jarring in 2022, and playing an alternative version provided by the record company.”
The BBC previously came under fire in 2019 when the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special included a performance of Fairytale Of New York by Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon’s characters which used the uncensored lyric.
After receiving almost 900 complaints, a BBC spokesperson said at the time: “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.
“Nessa and Bryn were seen singing the original lines and we can assure you there was no intention to offend viewers. We understand that some people will find it offensive in any context but we also recognise that the song is widely played and enjoyed in its original form.”
Subsequent airings of the Gavin & Stacey special have removed the offending lyric.