- Didn't the TV show used to be called The National Lottery Live ?
Yes, but the following events changed that:
- Saturday and Wednesday TV shows were renamed to The National
Lottery Draw from Saturday 29th November 1997 onwards.
- Saturday shows between 28th March 1998 and 11th July 1998 were
temporarily renamed The National Lottery Big Ticket because the
shows were extended to 50 minutes in length to include both the online
draw and a gameshow based around the
TV Dreams scratchcard.
- The Saturday shows between 18th July 1998 and 29th August 1998 were titled
The National Lottery on Tour and the show travelled to
various UK seaside resorts.
- The six Wednesday shows between 9th September
and 14th October 1998 were
called The National Lottery Dreamworld (lasting an appalling 30
minutes) and were presented by Ulrika Jonsson.
- The Wednesday shows between 21st October 1998 and 24th February 1999
were called The National Lottery Amazing Luck Stories and were presented
by Carol Smillie.
- The Saturday shows between 27th February 1999 and 29th May 1999 were called
We've Got Your Number and were hosted by Brian Conley, Carol
Smillie and Shauna Lowry.
- The Wednesday shows between 3rd March 1999 and 5th May 1999 were called
National Lottery - Greatest Hits and were hosted by Angela Griffin.
- The Wednesday shows between 12th May 1999 and 21st July 1999 were called
National Lottery - Local Heroes and were hosted by Carol Smillie
and Shauna Lowry.
- The Saturday shows between 12th June 1999 and 4th September 1999 were called
National Lottery Winning Lines and were hosted by Simon Mayo.
They lasted a cringeworthy 35 minutes.
- The Wednesday shows between 28th July 1999 and 29th September 1999
onwards were called National Lottery - Love Songs
and were hosted by Claudia Winkleman.
- The Saturday shows between 11th September 1999 and 6th November 1999
were called National Lottery Stars and were hosted by Dale Winton.
- The Wednesday shows from 6th October 1999 onwards are called
National Lottery Third Degree and are hosted by Eamonn Holmes.
- The Saturday shows from 13th November 1999 onwards were called
National Lottery Red Alert and were hosted by Lulu.
- The Wednesday shows from 26th January 2000 onwards are called
National Lottery: UK 2000 and are hosted by Carol Smillie.
- The one-off Wednesday show on 24th November 1999 was be called
National Lottery - A Night At The Opera.
- Where do I see The National Lottery Draw TV show ?
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
has an exclusive TV deal to air the show on BBC 1 live each
Wednesday evening (8.50pm BST, currently presented by Eamonn Holmes) and
Saturday evening (7.15pm BST, currently presented by Lulu).
For the first 6 months or so, the show went around various esoteric locations
in the UK. However, up until recently the BBC settled on the BBC TV Centre in Shepherd's
Bush, London as the draw location, probably because it's a lot cheaper to do
If you want to see the show in person, you can
to the BBC for tickets.
You can, of course, also watch a live commentary of the TV show from the
Lottery Chat Room or watch it on this site's
home page if your browser doesn't support Java.
- What's the running time of the show ?
Up until and including Show
#135, the running time was 15 minutes
for both the Saturday and Wednesday shows with the following exceptions:
- Show #1 (60 minutes)
- Show #53 (25 minutes)
- Show #110 (20 minutes)
- Show #117 (30 minutes)
- Show #124 (20 minutes)
- Show #126 (20 minutes)
- Show #128 (20 minutes)
- Show #130 (20 minutes)
- Show #134 (20 minutes)
#147, the Saturday shows were
20 minutes long and the Wednesday shows were 10 minutes long with the
exception of Show
#142 (15 minutes).
#148 onwards, the Saturday shows have remained
20 minutes long with the exceptions of:
- Show #196 (15 minutes)
- Show #200 (30 minutes)
- Show #208 (25 minutes)
- Show #210 (25 minutes)
- Show #214 (25 minutes)
- Show #230 (25 minutes)
- Show #232 (25 minutes)
- Show #278 (25 minutes)
- Show #280 (25 minutes)
- Show #282 (25 minutes)
- Show #284 (25 minutes)
- Show #286 (25 minutes)
- Show #290 (25 minutes)
- Show #304 (25 minutes)
- Show #310 (25 minutes)
- Show #324 (25 minutes)
- Show #326 (25 minutes)
- Show #328 (25 minutes)
- Show #330 (25 minutes)
- Show #332 (25 minutes)
The Wednesday shows have been deviously stretched
to 15 minutes with the exceptions of:
- Show #209 (20 minutes)
- Show #247 (10 minutes)
- Show #249
(2 minutes and 32 seconds - shortest ever !)
- Show #253 (30 minutes)
- Show #259 (10 minutes)
- Show #265 (2 minutes and 49 seconds)
- Show #281 (20 minutes)
- Shows #283-#293 (30 minutes [Dreamworld shows])
- Shows #295-#315
(10 minutes [Amazing Luck Stories shows])
Saturday shows between Show #236
and #266 were a tortuous 50 minutes
long to accommodate The National Lottery Big Ticket tie-in with
the TV Dreams scratchcard, with these exceptions:
- Show #236 (55 minutes)
- Show #258 (2 minutes and 50 seconds - shortest ever Saturday show)
- Show #262 (2 minutes and 58 seconds)
- Show #264 (2 minutes and 53 seconds)
- Has the TV show ever been cancelled ?
Yes, the two TV shows
on Wednesday 3rd and Saturday 6th September 1997 were cancelled as a
mark of respect for the death of Princess Diana.
The draws took place off-camera on Wednesday (8pm BST)
and Sunday (12.15am BST) respectively, with the results being made available
elsewhere (including on these pages of course).
- What sort of disruptions have there been to the show ?
Ones I can recall include:
- Various computer graphic failures, including the TV Home Play "hologram"
(voiced by Kate Robbins) going wrong and several occasions where a ball was
rendered blank or black when being displayed as a computer graphic.
- The lottery machine breaking down and the draw having to take place
55 minutes later with a backup machine.
- A woman coming on in a blue bikini with lottery balls printed on it just
before the draw started (this was shown on camera).
- A man streaking just before the draw (only saw their head though).
- Who's been a lottery TV show presenter so far ?
- Noel Edmonds (show #1)
- Anthea Turner (shows
#200 and Saturday shows
- Dale Winton (shows
and Saturday shows
#304-#330 and #388
- Bob Monkhouse (shows
- Carol Smillie (shows
Saturday show #358) and
- Ulrika Jonsson (shows
Wednesday shows #283-#293)
- Jimmy Tarbuck (show
- Terry Wogan (Saturday shows
- Carol Vorderman (Wednesday show
#151, Saturday show
#162 and Wednesday shows
- Adam Woodyatt (Saturday show
- Gary Barlow (Saturday show
- Bradley Walsh (Saturday shows
- Ainsley Harriott (Saturday show
- Michael Ball (Saturday shows
- Bruce Forsyth (Saturday show
- Ronnie Corbett (Saturday show
- Hale and Pace (Saturday show
- Shirley Bassey (Saturday show
- Rolf Harris (Saturday show
- Ant and Dec (Saturday show
- Dame Edna Everage (Saturday show
- Tom Jones (Saturday show
- Gary Wilmot (Saturday show
- Ronan Keating (Saturday show
- Patrick Kielty (Saturday shows
- Jane McDonald (Wednesday show
- Martine McCutcheon (Saturday show
- Julie Goodyear (Saturday show
- Dolly Parton (Saturday show
- Gloria Estefan (Saturday show
- Boy George and Culture Club (Saturday show
- Elaine Paige (Saturday show
- Brian Conley (Saturday shows
- Angela Griffin (Wednesday shows
- Shauna Lowry (Wednesday shows
- Simon Mayo (Saturday shows
- Claudia Winkleman (Wednesday shows
- This Eamonn Holmes bloke, where have I seen him before ?
He's most well known for being a presenter on ITV's breakfast show GMTV.
- This Lulu woman, where have I seen her before ?
She actually used to have her own variety show many years ago on the
BBC and she's quite a long pop career.
- How many people normally watch the show ?
Initially, the Saturday lottery show was attracting a peak of 17.5 million
viewers, but this has gradually fallen over time.
The Wednesday viewing figures for the first midweek draw
on 5th February 1997 were 11.5 million.
A combination of hot weather and ITV's Stars In Their Eyes Final
on Saturday 7th June 1997 gave ITV's show 8.8 million viewers (43% of the
audience) against the lottery TV show's 6.2 million (31%). This was the
first time that any TV show had beaten the lottery TV show in the ratings.
One tenuous link here is that the winner of that Stars In Their Eyes
Final was a schoolgirl from my home town !
- Who pays for the rights to the TV show ?
This is possibly the question with the most surprising answer of all - the
BBC do ! Yes, Camelot receive a substantial (but undisclosed) sum for said
rights, which has sparked a major row in Parliament and the UK media. MPs
claim it is "unacceptable" to sell the rights to broadcast the lottery draw
results, whatever the ratings may be. Many people consider the TV show to be an
advert for the lottery (and Camelot in particular) and hence expect that there
would either be no payment or that Camelot actually pays the BBC.
Channel 4's Right To Reply waged a recent campaign about
this very subject of the BBC paying Camelot for the TV show rights. This
culminated in a phone-in vote, with 37,893 (=99%) out of 38,315 people phoning
in say that the BBC should not pay. The fact
that the BBC and Camelot totally refuse to disclose how much is being paid
for the TV show rights is also a major bone of contention with Right To
Reply (who allege that the deal costs the BBC £1.65m over 3
The BBC's contract for the TV show was extended on Friday 20th June 1997
for a further 12 months and now expires at the end of November 1998. Camelot
are happy with the job the BBC are doing despite falling ratings.
- Exactly what happens on the show then ?
When the show was using outside broadcast facilities, the first minute or so
would be based on a theme (e.g. The Good Old Days or some museum or
other) before the somewhat garish computer-generated title sequence came up.
After the title sequence, you have the choice of:
- Covering the story of a previous lottery winner.
- Showing what good causes that 28% of the ticket sales goes to.
- Having some pointless feature on the sort of things you could buy if you
won the jackpot.
- Having a "Draw Challenge" (Wednesday shows only) where people compete
to win a chance to press the button to start the draw.
- Finding out the estimated prize pool and jackpot pool totals via a fax
delivered from Camelot (though this isn't waved onscreen any more !).
If you're not already screaming at the screen with impatience as all this fluff
goes by, you've still got to wait for the balls to be loaded into the machine,
during which period the show usually wanders off to a filmed report and
has a guest singer (though, strangely, the BBC now often decides to put
the singer on after the draw, which is crazy because people switch
channels as soon as the bonus ball comes out !).
At long last, we're ready for the draw, so it only remains for the show to drag
on a "celebrity" (sometimes not British) to press the start button on the machine
and away we go with the draw, some 13 (or 18 if Saturday) minutes or so after
the TV programme has started. We see the balls come out of the machine one by
one and the BBC puts up computer representations of the balls on-screen as
well. One useful addition to this "excitement" is that a voiceover
(from Radio 2's Alan Dedicoat) gives details on how many times that ball
has come out before and when the last time was it appeared, although the bonus
ball seems to be given the stats cold shoulder. After the balls have been drawn,
the computer-displayed balls are sorted in ascending order for ease of checking,
the voiceover reads them out in that new order, the presenter thanks the guests
as well and sometimes tells us who will be the special guest for the next show
(not that you can ever hear him or her
above all the audience screaming) and then the show ends.
- Why is the show 15 (or 20) minutes long when the draw only takes 2 minutes ?
The minimum length of a programme that is allowed to appear in the TV ratings is
15 minutes. There is no other reason why the show is dragged out for so
- Is there any indication of how many winners there are and what the prize amounts will be ?
Apart from the estimated prize and jackpot pool amounts, there is no indication at all
during the programme. This is a huge weakness in the show, because you are left with an anti-climactic
feeling at the end - did anyone win the jackpot and if they did, how much did they win ?
The provisional results are announced as a 30-seconds filler inbetween BBC 1 programmes about an hour later, which most people will probably miss.
On 24th December 1997, the BBC tried to announce the number of jackpot
winners live on the show. They couldn't manage it and it took them until
27th February 1999 (yes, some 14 months later !) before they tried it again
and this time they announced there were no jackpot winners before the show
- OK, clever clogs, how would you improve the show ?
I would radically alter the show and cut it down to 5 minutes:
- Minute 1: Show the machine number and ball set and then start loading the balls.
- Minute 2: Give stats on previous lotteries (most popular numbers and other sequences).
- Minute 3: Repeat the last draw's winning numbers and prize amounts. This is especially
useful if Camelot correct figures. Remember that the current TV show never tells you the
full results, even during the following show !
- Minute 4: State the estimated jackpot/prize pools and the ticket sales (the latter is never
stated on the show), then start the draw.
- Minute 5: Finish the draw and announce the full results.
As far as the draw itself goes, as each ball is drawn, there should be instant stats on it shown
onscreen (how many times it has previously appeared, the last time it was drawn, how many people chose
it for this draw and - from ball 3 onwards - how many 3-match, 4-match etc. prize winners there are
so far based on this draw's balls). After the bonus ball has been drawn, a final table of results
(prizes and number of winners in each category) should be displayed within seconds, so we're not
left in the dark like we currently are.
Remember that Camelot's central computer holds the numbers of every single ticket and with some
fast look-up algorithms, it should only take a couple of seconds to collate the information - it
might be fun to see the calculations in progress (as whizzing accumulating digits onscreen).
After all, the last ticket must be bought over 30 minutes before the actual draw, which gives plenty
of time for Camelot's computer to create any fast-lookup database it needs. I think this would make
the show much more exciting and complete - how about it, BBC and Camelot ? You can cover yourselves
by clearly stating it's a set of provisional results only, subject to later confirmation.