- 19 Nov 20
The duet is one of the most enduring Christmas hits, having returned to the UK Top 20 charts every year since 2005.
BBC Radio 1 has announced that it will refrain from playing the original version of 'Fairytale of New York' by The Pogues, featuring Kirsty MacColl, this Christmas.
Concerned that the lyrics may be offensive due to the use of the homophobic slur 'f****t', the station has said that young listeners were especially "sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality".
It will instead play an edited version with different lyrics sung by MacColl.
The 1987 original will still be played on Radio 2, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two versions.
"We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience," a BBC spokesman said.
Radio 1 has played the song in its original form in recent years, but the insults contained in the lyrics have long been criticised by some.
The station has decided younger listeners who are unfamiliar with the track would find some of the words stark and not in line with what they would expect to hear on air.
The new edited version alters replaces two lines with MacColl singing "You're cheap and you're haggard" in place of a homophobic slur.
The other one, sung by Shane MacGowan in the second verse, has had a word removed entirely in the new edit.
The track was first censored in 2007 by BBC Radio 1 but the resulting backlash caused them to reverse the decision.
Andy Parfitt, the station's controller at the time, commented that the BBC audiences were "smart enough to distinguish between maliciousness and creative freedom", and there was no "negative intent behind the use of the words".
Radio 2 said it had considered the issue carefully and would continue to monitor listeners' views, but had decided to continue to play the original.
BBC Radio 6 Music has said that each presenter can decide which version of the song to play.