January 10, 2020
The BBC received almost 900 complaints about the recent Gavin & Stacey controversy, it has been confirmed.
Gavin & Stacey Fairytale Of New York Backlash Sparked Almost 900 Complaints To BBC
Over Christmas, Gavin & Stacey returned after a decade-long absence for a brand new festive special, which was largely met with positive reviews.
However, many viewers were upset with the decision for two characters to perform a version of The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York, which included an uncensored rendition of the line “you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy f****t”.
The BBC has now confirmed to The Sun that they received a total of 866 complaints over the inclusion of the slur, after doubling down on their defence of why the lyric was featured in the first place on Thursday.In a message sent to those who contacted their Executive Complaints Unit over the controversy, they said: “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”.
Before 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.”Meanwhile, back in December, The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan – who wrote the song – admitted he “didn’t understand” the backlash to the lyric in question, 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.”READ MORE: 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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