Gavin & Stacey Christmas special: BBC responds to Fairytale of New York controversy

While the show as a whole received positive reviews, some fans took issue with the use of a controversial lyric from the Pogues song

Roisin O'Connor
Saturday 28 December 2019 09:32
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Gavin and Stacey Christmas special trailer

The BBC has brushed off criticism over the use of the word “faggot” during a performance of “Fairytale of New York” in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special.

Controversy arose after characters Nessa (Ruth Jones) and Bryn (Rob Brydon) did a karaoke rendition of the festive hit, which includes the original lyric: “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot.”

The song by The Pogues has been the subject of debate for years due to the offensive use of the word as a homophobic slur.

A number of viewers complained about the moment on social media, questioning why writers Jones and James Corden, and the BBC, had chosen to leave the lyric in knowing it was controversial.

“It is a different climate. But we have to remain true to the characters, to who they were,” Jones told The Sun.

Characters in Gavin & Stacey are kind and big-hearted, I believe. So I think no one is going to be intentionally hurtful. But by the same token, they’re not necessarily going to be completely politically correct or be aware of political correctness.”

The BBC has also now responded in a statement that reads: “'Fairytale of New York’ is a very popular, much-loved Christmas song played widely throughout the festive season, and the lyrics are well established with the audience.”

The anticipated return of the popular sitcom marked the best Christmas Day viewing figures for more than a decade.

The Christmas episode, which was broadcast on BBC, was watched by an average of 11.6 million people, making it the biggest Christmas special since 2008.

Read our review here.

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