The Joy of Abba

Fri Dec 27, 9-10pm, BBC4

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<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5


The first harbingers of Scandi cool? A brutal iron fist of existential nausea inside a velvet glove of pop genius? Alan Partridge’s most notable lapse into good taste? Abba were, as this thoroughly enjoyable documentary attests, all of the above and much, much more.

They probably didn’t get the respect they deserved at the time – look out for some priceless footage of a dismal Swedish punk retort to their melodic mastery – but it’s hard to come away from this film feeling anything other than huge respect for their irresistible body of work. And indeed, it’s a respect that many punks shared: Glenn Matlock admitted to nicking one of their guitar riffs for ‘Pretty Vacant’ while a besotted Sid Vicious apparently once chased the female members through an airport.

Full of good stories and perceptive analysis from the likes of John Grant, Peter Paphides and Charles Hazlewood, this will get you in the mood for the inevitable New Year’s Eve airing of ‘Dancing Queen’.


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