25 years: what has The National Lottery ever done for us?

25 years: what has The National Lottery ever done for us?

Steve Backshall holding a snake
It's time to say: "Happy 25th Birthday!" But what has The National Lottery ever done for us?

This week marks the 25th Birthday of the first National Lottery draw so it’s a good time to ask: what has the National Lottery ever done for us? Thankfully Jimmy Carr and a host of famous faces are on hand to help with the answer.

In a parody of the ‘What Have The Romans Ever Done For Us’ scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian, a new film, written by BAFTA-nominated director and writer David Schneider celebrates 25 years of National Lottery funding for good causes.

Famous faces

Athletes, stars of the screen and other famous faces add their ideas to a fast-growing list of how £40billion of National Lottery funding has changed people’s lives in the areas of sport, arts, community and heritage.

Nicola Coughlan sitting in an audience
Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan was in the crowd to celebrate National Lottery funding


The film touches on what £8bn from the National Lottery has done for the UK’s heritage:

  • King Henry VIII appears in the audience to shout about funding for treasured and historic sites across the UK
  • Derry Girls star Nicola Coughlan sticks up for green spaces – over £760m towards conserving the country’s natural heritage sites since 1994
  • Sir Tony Robinson pops out of the ground to celebrate funding for archaeological digs, describing funding as “the difference between holding on to a piece of your heritage, or losing it forever”
  • Steve Backshall (with a snake) celebrates over £1bn for wildlife and nature
Tony Robinson in a hard hat pops up in a theatre
Tony Robinson emerges from the floor to celebrate funding for archaeology


Jimmy Carr concludes: “Right, but apart from charities, Wembley Stadium, community projects, medals, the Angel of the North, heritage sites, films, support for homeless people, green spaces, archaeology and wildlife – what’s The National Lottery ever done for us?”

Thanks to You

The film is the latest celebration of The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday. Others have seen Chris Packham building bird boxes at Woodberry Wetlands to mobilise people to help wildlife, and stars taking over historic sites to highlight some of the thousands of offers for National Lottery players happening during the Thanks to You week.

25 years of funding for heritage

Over the past 25 years, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has been the largest dedicated grant funder of the UK’s heritage. We’ve awarded £8bn to more than 44,000 projects across the UK.

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