Gavin & Stacey Christmas special ‘receives nearly 900 complaints for homophobic slur’… but BBC defend uncensored Fairytale of New York rendition
The BBC has reportedly received 866 complaints for the use of a homophobic slur in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special.
The one-off episode was watched by 11.6million viewers when it aired, but some were upset when ‘f****t’ was not omitted from Nessa and Bryn’s rendition of Fairytale on New York.
However, the BBC is said to have defended the use of the expletive, claiming when The Pogues wrote the song in 1987, the word was not linked to homosexuality.
Taking issue: The BBC has reportedly received 866 complaints for the use of a homophobic slur in the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special
A BBC spokesperson told The Metro: ‘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.
‘The origin of the word includes a definition which describes it as a contemptuous and antiquated word for laziness, and the author of the song has cited this inference behind his inclusion of that line.
‘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.’
Complaint: The one-off episode was watched by 11.6million viewers when it aired, but some were upset when ‘f****t’ was not omitted from Nessa’s rendition of Fairytale on New York
They added there was ‘no intention to offend viewers but understand some people will find it offensive in any context’.
MailOnline has contacted the BBC and Ofcom for further comment.
Three days after the special aired, Ofcom received 11 complaints, but more viewers have complained to the BBC in the time since.
After the live show aired, Ruth Jones defended the word ‘f****t’ being used in the special, with the co-creator saying they were remaining true to the characters by leaving the word uncensored.
Response: After the live show aired, Ruth Jones defended the word ‘f****t’ being used in the special
The actress, 53, told The Sun while the Christmas special is being shown in a ‘different climate’ to the original series which wrapped in 2010, she said the moment is not going to be ‘intentionally hurtful’.
Ruth said: ‘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.’
Christmas special: Ruth said the Christmas special is being shown in a ‘different climate’ to the original series which wrapped in 2010
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell previously told The Times he objected to the BBC’s decision to not censor the slur when played on the radio.
He said: ‘The BBC would not screen a Christmas song with the n-word in it. It would be deemed deeply prejudiced and unacceptable. So why the double standards when it comes to the f-word?’
Adding the word is ‘pejorative to the LGBT community’, he said: ‘It would send completely the wrong signal. It will give comfort to homphobes everywhere.’
Defending it: Ruth claimed by leaving the sing uncensored it helped them ‘remain true to the characters, to who they were… I think no one is going to be intentionally hurtful’
The Pogues singer Shane MacGowan previously discussed the word being used in the song, where it is sang by Kirsty MacColl.
In a statement given to Virgin Media Television’s The Tonight Show, MacGowan, who also co-wrote the song, said the lyric was sang by a character who is not intended to be a nice or wholesome person.
He said: ‘The word was used by the character because it fitted with the way she would speak and with her character. She is not supposed to be a nice person, or even a wholesome person.
Uncensored: The BBC has also defended its decision to air the song in its uncensored version, citing its continued popularity among audiences
‘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.’
Popular: The Gavin And Stacey special secured the highest overnight Christmas ratings in 12 years when it aired, as it was watched by an average of 11.6 million viewers
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