The Pogues Fall Foul Of The BBC’s Censors (20 Years Later)

Dec 18th, 2007 // 2 Comments

fairytaleofny.jpgAfter two decades of airplay, the BBC just noticed that the Pogues’ classic Christmas jam “Fairytale Of New York” has a naughty word tucked into it–you know, the one singer Kirsty MacColl rhymes with “maggot”–and has excised it in order to keep its audience from fainting or getting the vapors or whatever uptight British people do when aghast. Naturally, many of the song’s millions of fans think the Beeb is being a bit silly, including the late MacColl’s mum, who pulled out the Mark Knopfler defense to put Radio 1 on blast.

“Radio 1 are playing an edited version of the Fairytale of New York that does not include the world ‘faggot’ as this is a word that members of our audience would find offensive,” the BBC said in a statement…

But MacColl’s mother Jean, speaking on the BBC Radio 5 Live, called the ban “too ridiculous”.

“These are a couple of characters,” she said, referring to the characters in the song.

“Today we have a lot of a gratuitous vulgarity and … whatever from people all over which I think is quite unnecessary. These are characters and they speak like that.”

As to Radio 1′s defense, a rep makes the all-important distinction that the offending slur is being “faded down” rather than bleeped. God, does this mean we need to add a “fadewatch” category now?

BBC Radio Station Censors Pogues Christmas Hit [Retuers]


  1. FMFats

    Hey, and just when did “scumbag” become an acceptable word in the media? When I was a kid it was a nasty term for a condom.

  2. Jfrankparnell

    I wonder if incensed street drunks and prosties light up the phones when the BBC spins the Pogues’ “Old Main Drag:”

    [under 18, turn away and imagine Santa]
    There the he-males and the she-males paraded in style
    And the old man with the money would flash you a smile
    In the dark of an alley you’d work for a fiver
    For a swift one off the wrist down on the old main drag

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