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Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK


Denise has Abba covered

Denise Van Outen: Tuning up to present Abbamania

Denise Van Outen has been lined up to host a pop special featuring today's chart stars singing Abba's greatest hits.

The former Big Breakfast presenter will introduce names such as Martine McCutcheon, Boyzone and B*Witched performing their versions of the 1970s' Swedish quartet's famous songs.

Van Outen will also perform a track herself.

[ image: No imitation: Abba's original women stars]
No imitation: Abba's original women stars
The one-hour ITV special is called Abbamania and is aimed at boosting music in schools.

Profits from a spin-off CD will be channelled into the charity the National Foundation For Youth Music.

The charity was set up this year to increase young people's chances of becoming involved in making music.

London Weekend Television has worked with the music industry body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on the project.

Rob Dickins, chairman of the BPI and a trustee of the foundation, said there were more ideas in the pipeline.

"Abbamania is the first of a series of initiatives from artists and record companies where they have the ability to give the gift of music to a new generation.

"Music of all kinds is of great benefit, not only as part of a general education, but also for life," he said.

Doing all she can to help on Abbamania, Van Outen will sing Gimme, Gimme, Gimme by the Swedish singing sensations.

[ image: Martine McCutcheon: Helping promote music in schools]
Martine McCutcheon: Helping promote music in schools
It's a role she's not entirely unprepared for.

Last year she had a chart hit with former Big Breakfast co-host Johnny Vaughan.

They sang a cover of the 1988 Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan hit Especially For You.

Other acts taking part in Abbamania include Steps, Westlife and The Corrs.

Original 1980s' nutty boys Madness, who reformed this year after more than a decade apart, will also be doing a turn.

Following the show the acts will head into a recording studio to record their versions of the Abba songs.

The CD album will be released in the run-up to Christmas.

Abbamania is due to be shown on ITV in October.

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