ABBA stars have hit out at the censorship of Roald Dahl books, echoing the sentiments of their song Don’t Shut Me Down.
Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson appeared on BBC Breakfast to mark one year since the launch of Abba Voyage, the group’s virtual concert residency in London.
The pair were asked by interviewer Victoria Derbyshire if it was “fair to appraise books, art and music from decades ago through the prism of standards we have now?”
Andersson said: “... you mean the changing of Roald Dahl books and stuff? No, I don’t think so; leave them as they are, see them as they are, see them for what they are, and for what time they were released.”
Ulvaeus said: “Yeah, we can take that, I think.”
Earlier this year, The Telegraph revealed hundreds of changes to Roald Dahl’s original books had been made by publisher Puffin.
The publisher, with the approval of the Roald Dahl Story Company, removed references to weight, height, mental health, gender and colour to curb any offence that may have been caused by the originals.
Puffin UK subsequently announced that it would produce uncensored versions of Mr Dahl’s books following public backlash.
It had previously insisted the changes were “minimal” and the stories were “unchanged”, despite the alterations running into the hundreds.
Waterloo banned during Gulf War
In 1991 ABBA faced censorship when the BBC banned the song Waterloo from being played on radio stations.
The 1974 Eurovision Song Contest winner was banned by the broadcaster during the Gulf War because it referred to a battle fought in 1815.
And in 2018 Ulvaeus told The Economist he would “maybe hesitate” writing 1979 hit Does Your Mother Know today, following the MeToo movement.
The song features the lyrics “you’re so hot, teasing me” and “ah, but girl you’re only a child”.
In the interview with BBC Breakfast, the two ABBA members said Voyage had been an “artistic success” and claimed they were exploring the possibility of replica shows in the US, Asia and Australia.
And after being informed President Vladimir Putin is said to be among their fans, Andersson said: “Good, I don’t mind, who cares? We can’t control who likes our music.”
Ulvaeus was less enthusiastic and said: “I don’t know how I feel about that.”