We’ve probably all thought about winning the lottery at some stage – the lure of instant wealth and the sudden disappearance of financial worry is pretty attractive.
Yet the newspapers often bring us tales of winners whose lives haven’t been been blessed by their newly found fortunes and even on TV – where producers tend to like a happy story – a win is no guarantee of happiness.
Here’s our top pick of TV shows where lotteries made a guest appearance:
This spin-off from Channel 4’s Desmond’s was commissioned after the death of Norman Beaton brought the tale of Peckham’s favourite barber to a premature end.
Ram John Holder reprised his role as Desmond’s best friend Augustus Neapolitan Cleveland “Porkpie” Grant who wins the (then) new UK lottery and devotes his fortune to honouring his friend’s life. The show never quite managed to shake off the shadow of its parent series or the absence of key characters from Desmond’s and ended after two seasons.
Only Fools and Horses
Everybody loved wheeler dealer Del Boy and his dim witted brother Rodney. In one of the most iconic Only Fools and Horses episodes The Unlucky Winner Is, Rodney wins a million peseta jackpot whilst on holiday in Spain. The pair originally win a free holiday to Spain after Del Boy entered one of Rodney’s drawings into a competition – the only catch being that Rodney is entered into the under-15’s category, Rodney is in his twenties.
Whilst in Spain, Del Boy buys some lottery tickets, of which Rodney’s wins. However, the Spanish authorities refuse to pay out as Rodney is supposedly 14 and therefore cannot legally enter the lotto. To prove his age, Rodney shows his student card but unbeknownst to him Del Boy has modified the age on it. In the end the lovable duo leave Spain empty handed. An audience of 17million people tuned in to this infamous episode.
At Home with the Braithwaites
This television series centres around the titular Braithwaite family. Matriarch Alison Braithwaite (Amanda Redman) wins £38million on the lottery in the first episode. The programme then descends into debauchery, with Alison having extra-marital affairs whilst trying to work out who to tell and what to do with her win, while the rest of her family just descends into chaos.
This BBC drama has just been commissioned for a third series, aired to fall in 2015. Written by Kay Mellor, who also penned the hugely successful Fat Friends, the first series focuses of five supermarket workers whose syndicate wins the jackpot, while the second series is a syndicate of hospital workers.
In a similar style to The Street, The Syndicate focuses each episode on one of the individual members of the syndicate, showing their personal life and what they plan, and do, with the money. It is a series of highs and lows, you get a clear insight into the lives of the winners and you can see how the money changes them, for the better and for the worse.