Gavin & Stacey Christmas special edited to remove Fairytale of New York lyrics

A repeat of Gavin & Stacey’s Christmas special has been edited to remove Fairytale of New York’s controversial lyrics.


Last year Christmas Day saw a one-off special of the hit BBC sitcom 10 years after it last aired.

In one scene Nessa and Uncle Bryn, played by Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon respectively, sing The Pogues’ hit Christmas song Fairytale of New York including the lyric using the word ‘f****t’.

The episode was repeated tonight (24 December 2020) but edited to remove the line.

The Sun newspaper reports that the decision was made by the show’s production company, Fulwell 73.

A source told the tabloid: “Fulwell 73 thought long and hard about this and they hope the change will ensure the special can be enjoyed by all audiences, present and future, without causing any unintended offence.”

Use of the lyric last year prompted a number of complaints to the BBC with a total of 866 objections made.


But the BBC defended using the song in the scene at the time.

They said in a response: “Fairytale of New York is a well-established, much-loved Christmas song which tells the story of a troubled couple in 1940s New York. 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.

“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.

“Ofcom have previously stated that they feel it is “unlikely that audiences would widely perceive [the song] as a serious attempt to denigrate the homosexual community”.


Starring Mathew Horne and Joanna Page, supported by a cast including James Corden, Ruth Jones, Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman, Gavin & Stacey’s one-off special aired on Christmas Day.

Gavin & Stacey’s special was watched by over 10 million viewers, the most watched Christmas Day programme for over a decade.

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