The BBC has defended its decision to allow the inclusion of the word 'f*****' during a rendition of The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York in the Christmas Day episode of Gavin And Stacey.
The UK's communications regulator, Ofcom, has received around 900 complaints about the use of the lyric, which is sung in a scene depicting a pub singalong, during which the characters of Nessa, played by Ruth Jones, and Uncle Bryn (Rob Bryden) perform the classic Christmas number.
Explaining the relevance of the lyric in terms of its original use in the Pogues’ 1987 song, a BBC spokesperson said in a statement: "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."
Referencing the pub scene in Gavin And Stacey, the spokesperson continued: "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."
The controversy has tainted what was in every other way a hugely successful return after 10 years for Gavin And Stacey.
The show was the most-watched Christmas special since 2008, securing a 49.2% audience share.
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