January 09, 2020
The BBC has once again defended its inclusion of the homophobic slur “f****t” during a performance of Fairytale Of New York in the recent Gavin & Stacey Christmas special.
BBC Doubles Down On Defence Of Gavin & Staceys Use Of Uncensored Fairytale Of New York Lyric
Last month, the hit sitcom’s reunion episode faced a backlash over the choice to include an uncensored version of the festive song, as performed by Rob Brydon’s character, Uncle Bryn.
It’s now been revealed that the BBC has responded to those who made an official complaint, insisting that the song does not “link [the slur] to homosexuality”.
In their response, which has been posted by more than one recipient on Twitter, they said: “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.”They continued: “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.
“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.”
They also cited media regulator Ofcom’s past assertion that it’s “unlikely that audiences would widely perceive [the use of the slur] as a serious attempt to denigrate the homosexual community”.What trash 🚮🚮🚮 pic.twitter.com/5Sjo9L6LSR— Dr Alex Bond 🏳️‍🌈🇨🇦 (@TheLabAndField) January 9, 2020Here’s how the BBC are replying to Gavin and Stacey complaints, fyi: pic.twitter.com/vFuYRdc5Zt— Shaun Kitchener (@ShaunKitchener) January 9, 2020Before the episode aired, it was revealed that an uncensored version of the song would be included in the episode, to which the BBC said: “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.”
Back in December, The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan – who wrote the song – admitted he “didn’t understand” the backlash to his song, or how the term “f****t” could be “insulting to gays”.“Fuck that,” he said, during an appearance on Ireland’s Late Late Show. “Nobody in the band thinks that’s worth a second’s thought.”
He then went on to perform the song on the show, with Shane and singer Philomena Begley singing the whole thing uncensored.
When asked about the controversy a year earlier, Shane claimed: “She is a woman of a certain generation at a certain time in history and she is down on her luck and desperate. Her dialogue is as accurate as I could make it but she is not intended to offend.
“She is just supposed to be an authentic character and not all characters in songs and stories are angels or even decent and respectable, sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively.
“If people don’t understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible, then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word, but I don’t want to get into an argument.”
Kirsty MacColl – who is also credited on Fairytale Of New York – changed the lyric in question in later performances from “you cheap lousy f****t” to “you’re cheap and you’re haggard”.
Last month, HuffPost UK contacted representatives for both James Corden and Rob Brydon, but did not receive a response.Ruth Jones – who co-wrote the show, and whose character also appeared in the performance of Fairytale Of New York – previously told The Sun: “It is a different climate. But we have to remain true to the characters, to who they were.
“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.”MORE GAVIN & STACEY: Gavin & Stacey Newcomer Laura Aikman Reveals All About Joining TV's Most Dysfunctional Family Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special Pays Fitting Tribute To The Late Margaret John Nessa's Most 'Nessa' Moments In The Brilliant Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special
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