ABBA in Switzerland

Filmed: Wednesday 14 - Sunday 18 February 1979

Location: Leysin, Switzerland

Broadcast: See below for detailed info

Release status: Released on Voulez Vous Deluxe Edition

Duration: Just under 1 hour

Shown in: Worldwide

Additional information

This programme is also known in some regions as Snowtime Special. Produced by Michael Hurll of the BBC (who died in September 2012), the programme was made in co-operation with many other worldwide TV companies: CBC Toronto, Mainos TV Helsinki, NZBC TV1 Auckland, RM Productions Munich, The O Ten Network, Australia, SSR Geneva and SRG Zurich.

This was one of the four TV specials made around this time. Some of the clips, introductions and even guests mixed and matched in the various programmes:

  1. ABBA in Switzerland
  2. Boney M in Switzerland
  3. Disco in the Snow and Disco in the Snow Part II*
  4. ABBA Snowtime/Christmas Snowtime/Snowtime Special/Christmas Snowtime Special.

*Agnetha and Frida appeared briefly in Disco in the Snow Part II* to introduce Ted Gärdestad with Take Me Back To Hollywood.

ABBA in Switzerland
was made up of songs performed in a big top, ice skating and snow/ski-ing scenes.

ABBA were seen arriving by helicopter from Geneva (Cointrin) Airport. In the opening credits, it's always puzzled me why there is a still "photograph" taken of Björn, Frida and Agnetha while ski-ing in Switzerland but a 1978 studio image is used for Benny.


The ice-skating scenes were filmed at 9pm on Wednesday 14 February 1979 at the Leysin village ice-rink.

Apparently, at the ice rink, Benny and Frida enjoyed themselves so much that they carried on skating after the cameras had stopped rolling at such a pace that Frida fell over occasionally.


The ski-ing scenes were filmed 25 minutes away at Les Diablerets (village and ski resort) between Wednesday 14 and Sunday 18 February 1979.

A sports shop in Place du Marché, Leysin kitted out many of the artistes with snowsuits for the various programmes including The Jacksons and Boney M.  According to a staff member at the shop, ABBA's arrival at the store was followed by a swarm of journalists and photographers who invaded the store and who were pushing the curtains of the fitting room.


Tickets for the show had been distributed months earlier to the local community of Leysin. Due to the power of word of mouth, many more than the allotted 2,500 people turned up on the night of the show in the Big Top. Most of them got in and there was standing room only in the aisles.

The actual show in the big top was filmed on Friday 16 February 1979 in Leysin.

Given that the Voulez-Vous album had not yet been released, the new tracks to be released on the album were not quite in their final finished state.

Running order of the show:

  1. Geoff Richer's First EditionJump Shout Boogie
  2. Take A Chance On Me
  3. The King Has Lost His Crown (ALTERNATE MIX - the album version fades quicker, this is slightly longer)
  4. Roxy Music - Dance Away introduced by Agnetha and Frida
  5. The Name Of The Game (in the snow)
  6. Eagle (with footage of a balloon race and actor David Niven) introduced by Björn
  7. Mamma Mia introduced by Frida (in the snow)
  8. Hole In Your Soul (footage of ABBA ice skating)
  9. Kisses of Fire (EARLY STRING MIX)
  10. Lovers (Live A Little Longer)
  11. Kate Bush - Wow introduced by Benny & Björn
  12. Chiquitita
  13. Does Your Mother Know (EARLY VERSION)
  14. Thank You For The Music

Backing musicians were Lasse Wellander, Ola Brunkert and Rutger Gunnarsson.

Some regions had different versions of the programme with different guests:

  1. Scandinavian version - Ted Gärdestad - Take Me Back To Hollywood was introduced by Agnetha and Frida
  2. Swiss and Australian versions - Swiss figure skater Denise Biellmann skated to Money Money Money" introduced by Björn.

This programme was released on the CD/DVD Voulez Vous Deluxe Edition on 31 May 2010 containing the ABBA performances only (excluding Eagle, the talking introductions and the other guests (for music licensing reasons)).

Broadcast information:
Monday 16 April 1979, 19:45-20:30, UK 
Repeated: Sunday 2 December 1979, 17:34 -18:28, UK
Monday 16 April 1979, 18.30, Sweden
Saturday 28 April 1979, 21:20-22:20, TSR, Switzerland
Sunday 24 June 1979 on Channel 10, Australia (including Geoff Richer's First Edition).
Tuesday 26 June 1979, 19:30-20:30, channel RVN-2 (Wagga), Australia (The version broadcast in Australia left out the guest performances and only included Geoff Richer's First Edition.)
Sunday 30 September 1979, 20:00, CBC, Canada
Saturday 1 December 1979, 21:35, NRK, Norway
Monday 3 December 1983, 20:15, Belgium
Saturday 13 November 2021, 23:00, BBC2, UK (available for a short time only if you have access to BBC iplayer)

  1. Benny forgetting to start playing his keyboards after the accapella intro of Take A Chance On Me. He's so carried away - then he suddenly realises, but he's a bit late. Obviously the song is playback.
  2. Frida fluffing her lines at the end of Take A Chance On Me
  3. Agnetha's face when she hears someone cry out from the audience at the comment about the long, dark nights in Sweden.
  4. Agnetha in Lovers (Live A Little Longer) - she CLEARLY mimes "I'm exploding" (there seems to be disagreement amongst fans as to what she says here).
  5. In Does Your Mother Know, watch Frida and Björn's gestures to someone off stage just before the start of the second verse.

Passport Control: Bonjour madame
Frida: Bonjour
Passport Control: passport please
Frida: He wants our passports
Agnetha: Hi everybody, we're ABBA!
Passport Control: Avez-vous quelque chose a déclarer?
Björn: He wants to know if we've got anything to declare
Frida: Well, we'd better be honest and admit ... we have Roxy Music
Agnetha: and Kate Bush
Frida: and snow and mountains and ski-ing and dancing and our big top
All: Welcome to Switzerland!
Agnetha: And welcome to Leysin. Let's go inside our big tent and meet Geoff Richer's First Edition.



Benny: Ladies ... Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the show and welcome to Switzerland. It's a ... feels really good to be here in the famous winter sport resorts of Leysin and it feels even better to be in out of the cold
Björn: Oh yeah, it's certainly warmer than Sweden, I tell you that!
Agnetha: Everywhere's warmer than Sweden by the way!
Frida: That's why we went into the export business!
Benny & Björn: Oh yes!
Benny: Yeah, you know we have very long and cold winter nights in Sweden ...
(a man in the audience shouts "Yeaaaahhhh!")
Benny: and that also means we have a lot of time to cuddle up and do whatever we like to do best
Frida: Like writing new songs!
Benny and Björn: Yeah
Björn: And here's one now ... and despite the title, it hasn't got anything to do with our very nice Swedish King but it's called The King Has Lost His Crown


Frida: Aren't we lucky, having one of our favourite groups on the show?
Agnetha: Yes, and I'm so lucky they got together again so
Frida/Agnetha: Ladies and Gentlemen, Roxy Music!


Björn: Come on, we can't go on watching other people, let's try it ourselves!
Benny: Right!


Björn: Ladies and gentlemen, just the other day there was a balloon race right near here. Well, we just had to go and watch and to see an old friend.


Agnetha: Look!
Björn: Here come the others
Benny: Mmmm, probably the happiest years of their lives
Frida: You know what this year is, this year is the Year of the Child, The International Year of Child organised by UNICEF, so all the nations of The United Nations are celebrating it. There are all sorts of special projects and services and campaigns happening. Maybe you saw the charity concert we were in. If you didn't or even if you did, here's a song.


Benny: And now ...
Björn: Whose dancing is amazing?
Benny: And whose looks are amazing?
Björn: Whose voice is amazing?
Benny: Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it a tree?
Björn: No, no, no, it's a bush!
Benny: Yeah, ladies and gentlemen, Kate Bush!



Björn: Thank you very much. That was a new number called Does Your Mother Know that you're out. They They never do, do they? And the one before was Chiquitita as you probably know. And for those of you who don't speak fluent Spanish like I do, it means "litle girl"
Frida: And we hope all the little girls and all the little boys will benefit from the Year of the Child. Finally, we have boys and girls of all sizes to join us for our final song.
Agnetha: Here they are, the boys and girls of different countries and some of the lucky children who live here in Leysin.


Lyrics available on the Official ABBA site

Archive data from BBC’s public site:
Caption: ABBA star in thir first European TV special, recorded on location in the Swiss Alps also featuring their special guests Kate BUSH and Roxy Music. Sp s film ABBA star in their first European TV special, recorded on location in the Swiss Alps featuring their special guests Kate BUSH and Roxy Music. Sp s film
Guid: LLVA125A
Transmission date: 16 Apr 1979
Clip #: BBC_LLVA125A
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License type: Rights-ready
BBC Broadcast Archive
BBC Broadcast Archive
Clip length: 00:54:30:00
Credit: BBC Broadcast Archive
Source: BBC Broadcast Archive
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Release information: Not released. More information
Aspect ratios: 4:3
Object name: BBC_LLVA125A
Subject: Arts, Culture and Entertainment
Keywords: Europe, Arts Culture and Entertainment, Roxy Music, ABBA, Kate Bush, Guest. Find similar clips
Availability: Availability for this clip cannot be guaranteed until time of purchase.
ABBA star in their first European TV special, recorded on location in the Swiss Alps featuring their special guests Kate BUSH and Roxy Music. Sp s film
ABBA star in thir first European TV special, recorded on location in the Swiss Alps also featuring their special guests Kate BUSH and Roxy Music. Sp s film
SONGS PERFORMED Dancing queen (dur 02m35s) Jump shout boogie (dur 02m55s) Take a chance on me (dur 03m50s) The king has lost his crown (dur 03m40s) Dance away (dur 03m30s) The name of the game (dur 02m10s) Eagle (dur 03m25s) Mama mia (dur 01m45s) Kisses of fire (dur 03m15s)
SONGS PERFORMED Lovers live a little longer (dur 02m45s) Wow (dur 03m40s) Hole in your soul (dur 02m40s) Chiquitita (dur 05m15s) Does your mother know (dur 03m45s) Thank you for the music (dur 03m45s)
BBC Item Type: Programme
BBC SubCatalogue: LONPROG

Information from ABBA Magazine Nos.13 and 14.  Thanks to Jun Seo, Walter Veldman, Alexei Zviaguintsev, Philippe Dupont, Judy Sawyer, Richard Knight, Julian D, Robin Andersson and Malin Westerberg for Swedish broadcast information. Thanks to Harold Hanlon for info about Australian version.
Thanks to Carl Magnus Palm, Daniel and Richard Knight and Jozsef for other information. Thanks to Ian Cole and Ken Griffin c/o ABBAMAIL (no longer online) and Jason Swan c/o ABBA Village
YouTube clips c/o Fafner888 and mozpiano2

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