BBC Radio 1 has said it will play an edited version of the Christmas classic “Fairytale of New York” due to a term in the lyrics that some listeners may find offensive. 

The 1987 song is set to be censored because of the “cheap lousy faggot” line which some at the BBC have deemed a “homphobic slur”.

A BBC spokesman said: “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.”

The edited version will now contain the line, “you’re cheap and you’re haggard”, a change executives said was necessary because of Radio 1’s younger listeners who are “particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality.”

Other BBC radio channels can still play the original version of the song however.

Shane McGowan has previously defended the song from criticism, saying it was “not intended to offend.”

“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,” he explained in 2018.

“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.”

The hit duet with Kirsty MacColl, who died in a 1998 boating accident, has reached the UK Top 20 every Christmas since 2005, and is currently sitting at 59 in the charts.