‘WHAT HAS THE NATIONAL LOTTERY EVER DONE FOR US?’ STAR-STUDDED FILM PARODYING MONTY PYTHON MARKS THE NATIONAL LOTTERY’S 25TH BIRTHDAY
19th November 2019
Today, a comedy film created by BAFTA-nominated writer and director David Schneider has been released to celebrate The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday, highlighting its extraordinary impact on UK life since 1994, parodying the much-loved ‘What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us?’ scene from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.
The short film stars comedian Jimmy Carr who, after being distracted by an audience member during a stand-up gig, poses the question: ‘What has The National Lottery ever done for us?’.
What follows is a series of surprising cameos from a host of famous faces in the audience, each heckling Jimmy with their own fact about The National Lottery’s wide-ranging impact in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.
The script highlights the extraordinary ways The National Lottery has contributed to public life in the UK in that time, having raised more than £40 billion for good causes.
Thanks to National Lottery players, £3,000 of National Lottery funding goes to good causes every minute – that’s £50 every single second. Every 25 minutes, a good cause in the UK receives funding from The National Lottery.
Among the eclectic line-up are: Rio Ferdinand, whose ‘Rio Ferdinand Foundation’ exists to help tackle social issues and is part-funded by The National Lottery.
Six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy and Olympic gold medal boxer Nicola Adams OBE, who have both spoken out about the pivotal role National Lottery funding has played in their careers and Team GB’s
Olympic and Paralympic success. TV star Scarlett Moffatt, who helped The National Lottery break the world record (Guinness World RecordsTM) for the Largest ever cream tea party in October.
Comedian Francesca Martinez, whose recent theatre tour was funded by The National Lottery.
The cast also includes Golden Globe nominated actor Jane Horrocks, rapper Big Narstie, actor and presenter Sir Tony Robinson, The Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison, Eastenders’ Tamzin Outhwaite,
Derry Girls’ Nicola Coughlan and naturalist Steve Backshall.
The release coincides with The National Lottery’s Birthday, marking 25 years since the first draw took place on 19th November 1994. The National Lottery was launched with the primary purpose of raising funds for good causes across the arts, sport, heritage and communities.
National Lottery games are played by 60 per cent of the adult population each year in the UK. All those who have bought a ticket have helped to fund cultural landmarks like the Angel of the North, Oscar winning British films like The King’s Speech and Billy Elliot, Wembley and The Principality stadiums as well as the success of our Olympians and Paralympians, along with hundreds of thousands of grassroots sports facilities, community spaces and local charities – just some of which are highlighted in Schneider’s film.
“Twenty-five years ago saw the advent of The National Lottery – today we’re celebrating what is now a national treasure. The money raised for good causes has helped millions of us follow our passions, find a voice and thrive. Whether through art, sport, community, heritage or film, our lives have been touched and changed – thanks to National Lottery players we are all winners.”
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, responsible for distributing around £12m a week to good causes,
The film was written and directed by David Schneider, co-writer of the BIFA winning and BAFTA nominated film The Death of Stalin. He has also written and appeared in Alan Partridge: Knowing Me, Knowing You and featured in films including Mission Impossible.
Writer and director David Schneider said:
“This film is a real celebration of 25 years of The National Lottery and working on this project genuinely had me wondering ‘what has The National Lottery ever done for us?’ When writing the script, I’d google, for instance, “The National Lottery in Glasgow” for a specific example and would be offered thousands. But what has it ever done for me? Apart from raising £40 billion for good causes and allowing me to pay tribute to one of my favourite ever sketches. And giving me the opportunity to work with the supremely funny Jimmy Carr who kept me laughing throughout the shoot, Rio Ferdinand (who I tried hard not to fanboy), the brilliant Jane Horrocks, Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Tony Robinson – so, not one knight, but two! - and so many other legends.
“Not to mention investing in the best of British film and contributing hundreds of thousands of pounds to comedy initiatives across the UK and some charities that are close to my heart. But yes, apart from all that, what has The National Lottery ever done for me?!”
“I did this because I thought The National Lottery might let me win. No such luck. Turns out The National Lottery do a lot for good causes, but despite that I still like them.”
The film represents a culmination moment of a major campaign by The National Lottery celebrating its impact over the past 25 years and thanking players for contributing £30 million to good causes every week. Over the last six weeks, a host of events and activities have been hosted across the UK to specifically
highlight The National Lottery’s impact on elite and grassroots sport, charities, art, community life, film, performance, wildlife, natural habitats and many more of the nation’s passions.
“It’s not easy to raise money for things like archaeology so when you can go to The National Lottery and say ‘this is vitally important’, [that funding] is the difference between holding on to a piece of your heritage, or losing it forever.”
Sir Tony Robinson, who appears in the film to highlight The National Lottery’s impact on heritage and archaeology
Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the 25th hashtag: #NationalLottery25
Notes to editors
For further information and images, please contact:
Shelly Naylor, Shelly.Naylor@lotterygoodcauses.org.uk, 02072113899
In the last 25 years, The National Lottery has contributed to life in the UK in an extraordinary number of ways:
No-one has contributed more to elite sport in the UK than The National Lottery players:
Overall, The National Lottery has contributed £6.3 billion to sport, funding over 93,740 sports projects
Since The National Lottery funding for Olympic and Paralympic sport started in 1997, funded athletes have won an incredible 864 medals – compared to the Atlanta Olympics, before Lottery funding, when GB won just one Gold medal and placed 36th in the table.
The National Lottery has helped people all over the UK get active:
It has invested more than £5.7 billion into 106,000 community sports projects including facilities, playing fields and increasing sporting opportunities for millions of people
The National Lottery estimates that the huge investments it’s made into grassroots sports projects has the potential to benefit every member of society.
• The National Lottery has transformed British Film:
Films supported by The National Lottery have won 400 awards including 14 Oscars, 100 BAFTAs and 29 Cannes awards. These include Billy Elliot, The King’s Speech and Pride.
It has invested over £933.6 million into film-related projects
including education and skills programmes and community film
The National Lottery has been fundamental in conserving green spaces and wildlife:
It has given over £760 million towards conserving the country’s natural heritage sites since 1994
The National Lottery helped to fund the creation of The Eden Project in Cornwall
It has played a key role in helping save species from extinction, primarily through a £4.6 million investment to ‘Back From The Brink,’ a project that aims to save 20 species.
The National Lottery has helped revive and preserve the memories and treasures that define our past and future:
o The National Lottery has awarded almost £10 billion to treasured and historic sites across the UK over the past 25 years.
o The Tower of London, Stonehenge, the Titanic Quarter in Belfast and The Natural History Museum have all benefitted from National Lottery funding, as well as The World War I centenary commemorations
It has given funding to 20 of the 31 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK
The National Lottery has enabled artistic expression on a scale not seen previously:
It has funded some of the UK’s most iconic artworks including the Angel of the North and the Kelpies, as well as galleries like The Tate Modern and V&A Dundee.
Over £4.9 billion has been invested in a diverse range of community and grassroots art projects
The National Lottery has been a catalyst for urban transformation:
It has contributed to civic projects including the Liverpool Docks, the Newcastle Quayside, Hull and Stratford.
The National Lottery has helped communities and charities to
National Lottery players have raised over £10.3 billion to UK charities, funding over 114,800 charitable projects. Over 80% of these grants have gone towards small charities (with an annual income of £500,000 or less)
This includes projects run by the smallest of grassroots community organisations right up to national charities, such as Mind UK, The Wildlife Trust, NSPCC, Age UK and The Princes Trust.
£1.1 billion has gone to spaces that bring people together, including local parks, village halls and community centres
About The National Lottery and its 25th Birthday celebration:
• The National Lottery’s Birthday celebrations are running for an eight-week period (from 14 October until 6 December). There are some incredible activities planned across the UK to celebrate the good causes that have been made possible thanks to National Lottery players over the last 25 years.
• The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.
• The 25th birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact The National Lottery has had on the UK, and to say thank you to National Lottery players for contributing around £30 million to good causes every week.
• National Lottery has made more than 5,500 millionaires but its primary purpose is giving to good causes - over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing
projects in every UK postcode district.