First National Lottery Draw
The 19th of November 1994 AD
Lambasted as a stealth tax and far more insultingly as a tax on the poor and stupid, but equally enjoyed by millions as a bit of fun and a potential life-changing route to riches, the National Lottery began with its first draw on Saturday November 19 1994, north of £40m having been spent on tickets.
The organisers were doubtless hoping for a big individual winner to grab the headlines and fuel the fires of hope. But in the event there were seven winners sharing the jackpot, claiming around £800,000 each. For some it may have meant a spending splurge; for others (why do they do this?) they’ll have said it was not going to change them, and spent 50p on a new biro.
Love it or loathe it the National Lottery draw as part of the British Saturday night was obviously here to stay, however vacuous the entertainment offered by celebrities whose special skills often involve the ability to smile and wave simultaneously. Noel Edmunds presented the first draw programme – funny I missed that one though more than 21 million Brits did tune in to the BBC to watch it – with Anthea Turner and Gordon Kennedy supporting him.
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