Xmas knees up | 

Shane MacGowan welcomes bumper Christmas bonus thanks to new Aldi ad

The Pogues legend co-wrote Fairytale of New York with Jem Finer in 1987 and the pair get around €250,000 each in royalties every year
Shane and Victoria are taking it easy at home this year after he broke his knee

Shane and Victoria are taking it easy at home this year after he broke his knee

Eugene Masterson

Crocked Shane MacGowan is recovering from a broken knee for Christmas - but he'll be getting a bumper dividend thanks to his classic song Fairytale of New York.

The Pogues legend co-wrote the festive favourite with bandmate Jem Finer in 1987 and the pair get around €250,000 each in royalties every year thanks to radio and TV airplay.

It is the second most profitable Christmas record in terms of dividends for its writers after Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody.

Shane, who turns 64 on Christmas day, can now also look forward to hundreds of thousands of euro extra this year thanks to an instrumental version of Fairytale of New York featuring as the theme music to this year's Aldi Christmas ad.

Not only is the animated commercial on Irish TV, voiced by celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio, but it is also shown on UK channels and includes the voice of footballer Marcus Rashford.

"Shane is still resting after breaking his knee so he has not seen any telly," his wife Victoria Mary Clarke tells the Sunday World.

"But he has seen the Aldi ad and of course he's very pleased with it."

The Aldi ad tells the story of Ebanana Scrooge and Kevin the Carrot with a Fairytale of New York soundtrack

The Aldi ad tells the story of Ebanana Scrooge and Kevin the Carrot with a Fairytale of New York soundtrack

Earlier this year Shane broke his knee following a fall at his Dublin home.

"He tore a ligament and he was in a brace, and just as the brace came off he fell and he broke the knee," explained Victoria, who married Shane in Copenhagen in 2018, with Johnny Depp a guest at their small wedding.

Shane was confined to a wheelchair for a few years from 2015 after breaking his pelvis, but after making a recovery he then had the setback with his knee.

Asked how exactly the latest accident happened, Victoria joked: "He fell down the chimney!"

Fairytale of New York was first developed in 1985 after Elvis Costello challenged The Pogues to write a decent Christmas song.

The band's producer at the time was Steve Lillywhite, who was married to singer Kirsty MacColl at the time, and she ended up accompanying Shane MacGowan on the lead vocals.

The track was released in November 1987 and although it went to No1 in Ireland, it was kept off the top spot in the UK by the Pet Shop Boys and their version of Elvis Presley's Always on My Mind.

But the New York-set festive tune, which features Matt Dillon as a policeman it in its video, has turned out to be the most played Christmas song in the UK in the 21st century and consistently tops radio listeners' and TV viewers' polls on their favourite festive tune of all time.

Aldi hopes to raise more than €1 million to donate to Christmas food banks for families in need.

It is something close to Manchester United star Rashford's heart - the footballer has spearheaded a campaign in the UK to get free school dinners for hungry pupils.

"As a family, we relied on the local food bank to get our Christmas dinner," he explains. "To this day, I remember queuing outside that building with mum, mum feeling embarrassed that she might be recognised. It is with that in mind that I'm delighted to lend my support to the Aldi campaign.

"For many children in situations like mine growing up, there is very little expectation around this time of year; add the impact of the pandemic and the very least they deserve is a Christmas dinner."

Aldi teamed up with Barnados in October 2020 with a goal of raising €1 million in Ireland across a two-year partnership to support vulnerable children.

The partnership is supporting families in need by raising vital funds for their Early Years and Family Support Services, including providing children with healthy breakfasts, hot meals and nutritious snacks as well as emotional support services.

The TV ad is a charming take on A Christmas Carol, and follows the story of Christmas loathing Ebanana Scrooge, who is reminded of the joys of the festive season by Kevin the Carrot who returns to screens for the sixth year in a row.

A medley of fruit and vegetable characters also feature - including 'Marcus Radishford', who is voiced by the England striker, as well as Tiny Tom, Peas and Goodwill and Kevin's Dickensian family.

Aldi was at the centre of a legal row with Marks & Spencer earlier this year, after M&S claimed Aldi's Cuthbert The Caterpillar cake infringed on their own iconic Colin The Caterpillar trademark.

After M&S reportedly threatened legal action, Aldi regularly poked fun at the matter on social media, and later gave their own caterpillar cake a makeover in the wake of the possible lawsuit.

When Aldi debuted their new Christmas advert last month, eagle eyed viewers spotted a reference to the controversy in the background of one scene, as the opening shot shows a sad-looking caterpillar cake being led away in handcuffs.

Visit Barnardos.ie/aldi to donate now or text 'KIDS' to 50300 to donate €4 to help support a vulnerable child this Christmas. Texts Cost €4. Barnardos will receive a minimum of €3.60. SP: LIKECHARITY. HELPLINE: 01 481 9311. Every €4 donated could help Barnardos provide a hot dinner and access to specialised care for a child in a Barnardos After School Club.

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