Sunday Express

Big cheque, then the reality check


WHEN I heard about Steve and Lenka Thomson’s £105million lottery win, my first reaction was knuckle-chewing envy and my second was to wonder why in heaven’s name they had gone public about their good fortune.

It’s not simply a matter of shaking a bottle of champers for the cameras and having a chat with a friendly press corps. That’s the easy bit.

The Thomsons are charming. They look like a nice, straightfo­rward couple, not the sort of undeservin­g neandertha­ls who sometimes hit the jackpot and (you are certain about this) will heedlessly fritter their money away showing neither good taste nor sound judgment.

Mr Thomson, a builder, said that he was going to go on working (bless!). Pretty Mrs Thomson said “It’s life-changing for the family”, which is the right thing to say because who believes for one single second the winners who say that being obscenely rich won’t change their lives at all?

In fact, the Thomsons said all the right things. They were going to move to a new house because “to be able to give our children a bedroom each is a big thing”. Sweet. They also said they were going to do a lot of good in their community of Selsey, in West Sussex.

But why did they go public? All lottery winners get the option of maintainin­g anonymity. “It would be difficult to live a lie and not tell anyone,” explained Lenka.

And you can see that when the Thomsons do start funding community projects

THE Profumo affair of 1963 is the scandal that keeps on giving. The Trial Of Christine Keeler is a six-parter to be screened on BBC One over Christmas.

Here we go again – sex, spies, Cabinet ministers, call girls. Yum yum. This version will reflect the concerns of the #Metoo era – as all things now must apparently – with the focus on what it was like for Valerie Hobson, John Profumo’s wife, played in this production by Emilia (or however they intend to share their winnings) then it would be difficult to keep their new wealth a secret. Even so, I hope they know what they’re letting themselves in for...

I used to think that if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t tell the children because they’d turn into brats. Fortunatel­y, I never had to wrestle with that particular quandary as my biggest win has been 25 quid. And they’re grown up now so obviously I’d tell them. But I wouldn’t tell many people and I certainly wouldn’t put it “out there”.

There will be begging letters for a start. In 1996, bus driver Peter Lavery won £10million. He received more than 9,000 letters

Fox. Valerie will be portrayed as feeling an “affinity” for Keeler.

Valerie Hobson was a major star of stage and screen when she married Profumo. When she was 18, around Keeler’s age at the time of the scandal, she played Baron Frankenste­in’s fiancee Elizabeth in The Bride Of Frankenste­in (1935).

Her screams proved so forceful that Universal Studios kept them in their sound library for use in subsequent horror movies. asking for money. He said: “My best advice? Burn them.”

But now – worse than letters – winners have to contend with the poisonous trolls on social media, the simmering resentment and viciousnes­s. This is an age when – one example among many – a female Jewish MP, Labour’s Ruth Smeeth, regularly receives death threats and has been advised to carry a panic button. Those who might be deterred by the bother of writing a letter and finding a stamp can now vent their spleen by tapping on a phone.

I hope that the Thomsons are able to enjoy their astonishin­g windfall in peace. But this is no time to put your head above the parapet if you want a quiet life.

SUDDENLY it seems imperative to see people “before Christmas”.to tick them off one’s list of pleasant obligation­s. Why should this be? Finding that you’ll have to leave it until those strange quiet days “after Christmas” feels like a small failure. And as for putting it off until the New Year – that’s simply procrastin­ation.

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WINNERS: Steve and Lenka

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