Did we like it?
This documentary started off by talking about Abba as if they were an obscure curiosity that we knew nothing about, but once it got into its stride, there was some great material and some expert analysis of the Swedish pop group’s appeal.
What was good about it?
• Superb black and white archive footage of Benny, Bjorn, Frida and Agnetha before the magical moment when they became Abba. The archive material was excellent throughout, although we were disappointed that footage of Waterloo at the Swedish Eurovision heats was very brief.
• Richard O’Brien’s cackling laugh and his observation that Agnetha had a hefty yet lovely backside.
• The quality of the analysis by Paul Gambaccini and The Times’ Pete Paphides. Sophie Ellis Bextor, looking lovely, said some intelligent things, too.
• The unsensational treatment of Agnetha’s retreat from the limelight.
What was bad about it?
• The pointless contributions of Lousy Louie Walsh, Lulu and Pete Waterman. All of them stated the bleeding obvious and added nothing to our understanding.
• The recreation of the mini-pop opera The Girl With The Golden Hair by Liz McClarnon (surprisingly good) was spoilt by spreading it throughout the 90-minute programme.
• U2’s version of Dancing Queen
• The way the Australians yelled “We want Abba” in horrible squeaky voices.