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Eurovision superfan and one of the hosts of the 2023 contest, Hannah Waddingham invites you to join her for a special celebration to mark 50 years since ABBA’s glorious victory with Waterloo at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.

This was the night that set Benny, Bjorn, Agnetha and Anni-frid on the journey that has included domination of the pop charts here and across the world, the Mamma Mia! stage and film phenomenon, and their acclaimed recent comeback with the technological triumph of the Voyage concerts.

Now, as we mark the 50th anniversary of that win in Brighton’s Dome, Hannah introduces a special screening of the entire 1974 Eurovision Song Contest final, which also features Oliva Newton John as the UK entry and The Wombles as the interval act.

She also gives us the benefit of her unique Eurovision insight to share some advice on how to enhance your own evening’s entertainment by keeping an eye out for some particularly marvellous musical moments in this show originally presented by Katie Boyle.

The 19th annual Eurovision Song Contest broadcast from The Dome in Brighton.

Once again the UK stepped into the breach, hosting the event for the fifth time after 1973 winners Luxembourg declined to hold it for a second year running due to expense.

Swedish group ABBA won the day with "Waterloo" and went on to become one of the only Eurovision acts (along with 1988 winner Celine Dion), to achieve international superstardom, selling more than 375 million records worldwide.

The song was voted best Eurovision song of all time at a 50th anniversary show of the contest in 2005, although interestingly it also received the lowest percentage of votes ever recorded for a winning entry in a final. The UK's entry was "Long Live Love" by Olivia Newton-John.

France had planned to enter the contest and had chosen both singer and song, but ended up withdrawing after the death of their president Georges Pompidou whose funeral was scheduled on the same day as the competition.

Meanwhile Italy made headlines for refusing to broadcast the contest on their state TV channel because lyrics in their song "Si" (which translates as "yes" in English) were judged to possibly have a subliminal effect on voters in a referendum on divorce taking place in Italy the following month. It is reported that Portugal's entry "E depois do adeus" was used as a signal by rebel revolutionary soldiers to begin a coup against the Estado Novo regime.

Airs Sunday 7th April at 8pm on BBC Four.


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