Gavin and Stacey Christmas special will not play controversial lyric in Fairytale of New York

GAVIN & Stacey will NOT feature a controversial lyric from festive favourite Fairytale Of New York in this year’s repeat, I can reveal.

When the award-winning show returned last Christmas for its first episode in almost a decade, Rob Brydon's character Uncle Bryn sang The Pogues' seasonal staple on stage in a pub — uncensored.

But production firm Fulwell 73 decided to cut the controversial line, which includes a homophobic slur, from tonight’s re-run on BBC1.

The show drew a record audience last Christmas as the most-watched scripted show of the decade. But now its makers find themselves dragged into an ongoing debate over the song, which includes that much-debated lyric sung by the late Kirsty MacColl.

I’m told the scene with Bryn singing will remain but with the line removed.

A show source said: “Fulwell 73 thought long and hard about this and they hope the change will ensure the special can be enjoyed by all audiences, present and future, without causing any unintended offence.”

Last month The Sun told how BBC Radio 1 would not play the uncensored version, airing a version with alternate lyrics. But the 1987 original will play on Radio 2, while DJs on Radio 6 Music can choose.

A spokesman for Fulwell 73 told me: “In keeping with the programme’s themes of joy, love and inclusivity, Fulwell 73 have decided to re-edit the song. We are grateful to the BBC for allowing us to make this change.”

A BBC spokeswoman added: “Attitudes change over time and we appreciate language is a sensitive and important topic for some people. We respect Fulwell’s decision.”

The special drew more than 17million viewers last Christmas, revisiting the title characters — played by Mathew Horne and Joanna Page — ten years on as they spend the hols in Barry, South Wales.

Good on Fulwell 73 for making this change. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another ten years for the next special.

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