BBC Radio 1 has censored The Pogues' 1987 Christmas hit Fairytale of New York to avoid causing offence.

The song, in which the late Kirsty MacColl trade insults with Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, has been edited as "some members of the audience might find it offensive", the BBC said.

During the song, MacColl sings to MacGowan: "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot."

She continues: "Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God it's our last."

Both the word "faggot" and another line in which MacGowan calls MacColl "an old slut on junk" have been edited.

MacColl's mother Jean today called the ban "too ridiculous" while the Pogues - who reformed in 2001 - said they found the ban "amusing".

Jean MacColl - whose daughter was killed by a speedboat off the Mexican coast in 2000 - told BBC Radio 5 Live's Breakfast programme: "These are a couple of characters - not in the first flush of youth, I would have thought.

"This is the way they spoke. Today we have a lot of a gratuitous vulgarity and whatever from people all over which I think is quite unnecessary."

She added: "They are what they are. These are characters and they speak like that."

The song reached number two when it was first released and was recently voted the best Christmas song of all time in a VH1 poll.

BBC Radio 2 said it plans to play the uncensored version of the track.

18/12/2007 12:58:45