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ABBA: Against The Odds | Preview (BBC One)

With 2024 marking the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s iconic victory at Eurovision and the contest once again taking place in Sweden, BBC One have announced the commission of feature documentary ‘ABBA: Against The Odds’.

The documentary will be produced by multi-award winning documentary makers Rogan Productions (Freddie Mercury: The Final Act), directed by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winner James Rogan and distributed worldwide by BBC Studios.

Telling the epic story of ABBA’s greatest period of musical achievement framed between the albums ‘Arrival’ (1976) and ‘Super Trooper’ (1980), this is the story of ABBA’s deeply personal and perilous journey through the band’s most transformative years and rise to global fame. In the UK the film will be shown on BBC One and iPlayer this May.

ABBA: Against The Odds will see a host of European broadcasters including BBC, ARD/WDR, France Télévisions, SVT and DR unite and come together to fund the feature film detailing the incredible story of the renowned group featuring rediscovered archive, exclusive never-before-seen stills and previously unheard stories. The film is set to be a roller-coaster journey of love, struggle, fame and – of course – epic songs.

The documentary features unprecedented access to SVT (Swedish public television) archives including rare footage that capture the band’s rise to fame and the intense negativity they faced at home.

With privileged insights from sources close to the band complete with exclusive photographic memories, rare footage, deleted and unreleased audio, unique band archive from behind the Iron Curtain and several exclusive access interviews that have either never aired or were thought lost since transmission; this is the untold story of ABBA.

Michael Jochnowitz, BBC Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment & Events says: “ABBA: Against All Odds is a truly special documentary, formed by a unique collaboration of broadcasters about one of the world’s greatest ever bands…And if you thought you knew the story behind the music, think again.”

James Rogan, Director, Rogan Productions said: “To be able, as a director, to dive into the ABBA story through the extraordinary archive of their voyage through the tumultuous 70s has been a jaw-dropping experience. The sheer joy of working on a documentary about ABBA cannot be understated, as their bitter-sweet songs remain as resonant in our confused times as they did when they were first recorded...

"This film will capture the scale of the challenge they faced as a Swedish band gaining success and respect on the global stage, and how the unique combination of four talents produced music that defined the decade and changed pop music forever.”

Tom Young, Head of Indie Partnerships, Factual at BBC Studios said: “ABBA are a truly international phenomenon, and we are honoured to be working with Rogan Productions on what will be another global hit with our clients, following on from highly successful collaboration on Freddie Mercury: The Final Act, both a commercial and critical hit.”

Axel Arno, Head of Documentaries, SVT said: “The documentary will be a celebration of not only the iconic music of ABBA but also the power of storytelling to unite us across Europe. In times of division, this documentary serves as a reminder of our shared cultural heritage and the vital role it plays in fostering unity and cohesion across the continent.”

Anders Bruus, Commissioning Editor, DR said: “ABBA's timeless appeal transcends borders, languages, and generations, proving that storytelling, art and music are universal languages that can bring us together, even in challenging times.”

Christiane Hinz, Head of Documentaries, ARD/WDR said: “ARD/WDR is thrilled to be part of this epic broadcasting and platform event that will unite different generations of European audiences in front of their screens. ABBA has shaped the sound of Europe and of course also in Germany this pop myth is kept alive till today. Younger people know the songs, now they will discover the story behind them. ABBA - twelve points! Europe - twelve points!”

Caroline Behar, Head of International Coproductions, Factual, France Télévisions said: “As the historical broadcaster of the Eurovision song contest, France Télévisions is proud to be part of the project ABBA: Against All Odds. We are honoured to celebrate ABBA’s unique talent, and get closer to the women and men behind the iconic band. We are convinced that ABBA’s commitments still resonate today within the young generation.”

The documentary airs Wednesday 8th May at 10:40pm on BBC One.


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