'Gavin and Stacey' will edit out a controversial lyric from 'Fairytale of New York' in a repeat of last year's Christmas special.

Gavin and Stacey

Gavin and Stacey

The popular sitcom returned for a festive episode in 2019, which saw creator Ruth Jones' character Nessa Jenkins and Rob Brydon's Uncle Bryn sing The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl classic without censoring a homophobic slur in one of the verses.

A spokesman for production company Fulwell 73 told The Sun newspaper's Bizarre TV column: "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.”

Meanwhile, 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.”

In January, actor Mathew Horne - who plays titular character Gavin Shipman - defended Ruth and her co-writer James Corden for penning the special, which sees Nessa and Bryan performing a rendition of the song, which contains the line "you scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy f*****".

The use of the song prompted almost 900 complaints to the BBC, but Horne defended its inclusion as it would be popular with the characters.

He previously said: "Yeah, there was [anger]. I wasn't really party to that as I don't really read the news but it is a popular song that has been used for decades.

"We felt it was appropriate to use it at Christmas time which is what the song was written for you know."

Following the initial backlash, the Beeb insisted there was "no intention to offend viewers".

A statement read: "'Fairytale of New York' is a well-established, much-loved Christmas song which tells the story of a troubled couple in 1940s New York.

"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*****' 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."