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ABBA's 50th Eurovision anniversary celebrations: Coming to a TV near you!

04 April 2024 at 12:33 CEST
ABBA at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 Alamy
Some of the broadcast highlights coming up to mark an extra-special Eurovision anniversary.

On Saturday 6 April we'll be able to look back on 50 years since that magical night in Brighton, when ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden and launched one of the most iconic careers in music the world has ever seen.

The moment won't pass without ample opportunity for us to get engrossed in it all once more. And with that, a selection of celebratory programming has been announced for us to reminisce over that very special date for ABBA, for the Eurovision Song Contest, and for pop music in general.

How could you ever refuse?...

From the Dome to the pegoda Alamy

The sapphire jewel in the blue satin-stitched crown of all this dedicated programming is what has turned out to be the largest ever collaboration of EBU Members on a documentary production to date. ABBA – Against The Odds will be broadcast in over 15 countries ahead of the 68th Eurovision Song Contest in May.

To mark 50 years since the Swedish foursome's Eurovision win in Brighton, a record number of EBU Members have come together to collaborate on the production of a new, feature-length documentary ABBA – Against The Odds, celebrating the legendary pop group's iconic rise to fame and cultural impact.

ABBA's Brighton hotel room in 1974 Alamy

Led by award-winning director James Rogan and produced by Dan Hall, the release of ABBA – Against The Odds will mark the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s historic victory with Waterloo, and promises unparalleled insight into the band's trajectory, featuring rare archival footage and exclusive interviews.

Developed by DR and SVT, the documentary production was also worked on by BBC, ARD/WDR, France Télévisions, NTR, NRK, YLE, RUV, VRT, EER, and Czech TV. 

ABBA enjoy the sights of Brighton in 1974 Alamy

ABBA – Against The Odds had its premiere at CPH:DOX (Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival) in March. The documentary will be made available for the first time on Saturday 6 April, on Swedish broadcaster SVT's service SVTPlay. 

14 more broadcasters will then air the feature before the 68th Eurovision Song Contest takes place on 11 May. Broadcast dates already known are: Estonia (1 May), Finland (1 May), Denmark (4 May), Netherlands (5 May) and Iceland (10 May). More transmission dates will be confirmed in the coming weeks. 

Benny & Björn reading what the papers had to say about them in Brighton, 1974 Alamy

Also marking this very special weekend is the broadcaster which hosted ABBA's triumphant turn at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974, the BBC. 

On BBC Four on Sunday 7 April, the BBC will rebroadcast the 1974 Contest for the very first time, in honour of our accomplished winners. The Grand Final from the Brighton Dome will be aired from 20:10 local time, with a duration of just 1 hour and 48 minutes if, as a more recent convert to the Eurovision Song Contest, you can believe such a thing was possible!

The broadcast will be preceded by a 10-minute introduction to the event given by none other than one of the presenters of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool, Hannah Waddingham!

The official logo of the Eurovision Song Contest 1974

The host broadcaster of Brighton 1974 has another celebration up its sleeve, too. On the 50th anniversary date, Saturday 6 April, BBC Two has a whole night of programming dedicated to Eurovision winners ABBA.

The night's star attraction will be the BBC's own brand-new documentary, When Abba Came To Britain. The feature looks at all of the time that Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benny and Björn spent in the UK from 1974 to 1982 and examines their ground-breaking legacy, from the Eurovision Song Contest to ABBA Voyage.

Also on the schedule that night is ABBA at the BBC, More ABBA at the BBC, The Joy of ABBA and ABBA in Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the broadcaster which was behind that iconic win in 1974, Sweden's SVT, has its very own celebration airing on Saturday 6 April. 

En fest för ABBA will go out at 20:00 CEST and will be a two-hour homage to the music of Sweden's greatest music export of all time. Filmed the night before at Cirkus in Stockholm, a whole host of the Swedish music industry's biggest names will be coming together to perform versions of ABBA's greatest hits. 

Included in the lineup will be the likes of Molly Sandén, Oscar Zia, Seinabo Sey, Maja Ivarsson, Albin Lee Meldau, Christer Sjögren, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Mapei and many more. 

And finally, even the venue that saw it all happen on that night 50 years ago is not letting the occasion pass without a huge celebration. On Saturday 6 April, the Brighton Dome will be opening its doors and inviting in troves of fans to party it up like it's 19... well, 74. 

While the event is not being broadcast, the live audience in attendance will be able to witness as Waterloo is performed again on the very same stage and on the very same date, 50 years on. The songbooks of both ABBA and the Eurovision Song Contest will be taken on by the Brighton Gay Men's Chorus.

The event will be hosted by Eurovision winner Charlotte Perrelli (Sweden 1999), with guest performances by yet more Eurovision winners; Måns Zelmerlöw (Sweden 2015), Katrina (United Kingdom 1997), Linda Martin (Ireland 1992) and Emmelie de Forest (Denmark 2013). UK Eurovision party queen Nicki French, who represented the country in 2000, will be on hand to add yet more sparkle, too.

You can listen to all 37 songs of Eurovision 2024 via your favourite streaming service or watch the music videos on our YouTube channel.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

Don't forget to download our app (for iOSAndroid), sign up to the official Eurovision Song Contest newsletter, and subscribe to the official podcast!