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Thunderball Events

Look through a timeline of Thunderball events to see how the game has evolved over the years since its introduction. You’ll see when major changes were made, when new draw days were added and all the other significant dates from Thunderball's past.


The number of ticket holders that have won the Thunderball jackpot since August 2011.

£2.05 Billion

The total amount of prize money that has been won since August 2011.

5 Jackpot Winners

The most jackpot winners there have been in one draw.

54 Draws

The number of draws in which there have been multiple jackpot winners.

Upcoming Events

There are currently no special Thunderball events scheduled. Keep revisiting this page to find out when the next special draw has been announced.

Previous Thunderball Events

The Thunderball timeline below shows all the big events that have occurred over the course of the game’s history, including all the changes that Thunderball has undergone and some of its most notable winners.


Tuesday 22nd October - Gayle and Phillip Say from Coventry won the top prize twice in the same draw. Gayle realised she had duplicated her numbers just after she bought her tickets and thought about asking the shopkeeper to void her entry, only to decide ‘it doesn’t matter, it’s not like I will win anyway’. It proved to be a wise decision to play the same numbers twice as they ended up celebrating a double win. The total payout of £1 million allowed Gayle to instantly quit her job as a cleaner.


Tuesday 30th January - A new Tuesday draw began, making it possible to play the game four times a week. The move was made so that a Thunderball draw always took place on the same night as Lotto or EuroMillions, for the benefit of players who value smaller, more frequent wins. Advance play was reduced from eight weeks to four weeks and the National Lottery made a number of other changes at the same time, including the launch of EuroMillions HotPicks.


Friday 17th March - The Thunderball jackpot was won by four different players.


Saturday 28th May – The winners of this jackpot were Walter Knowles and his small family syndicate from County Durham. Remarkably, Walter, an 85-year-old retired miner, had dreamt the night before that the four of them were going to become rich. He dedicated the win to his late wife Eva and said he would use the money to buy a new bungalow.


Wednesday 10th December - David and Karen Ainger from Chichester won this jackpot and went public with the news a few weeks later. David revealed that when his wife found out about the win and was screaming with delight, he went back to bed. As a couple who enjoy the quiet life, they planned to pay off some loans and then invest the rest for their retirement.


Friday 12th July - Four ticket holders won the £500,000 jackpot, matching the numbers 4, 7, 11, 15 and 20, plus the Thunderball of 10.


Saturday 9th June - There were four winners of the jackpot in this draw.


Saturday 17th December - Five players matched all the winning numbers, landing £500,000 each. The total prize fund paid out for this draw was more than £4.2 million.


Saturday 31st July – The 1,000th Thunderball draw took place, just over 11 years after the game launched.

Friday 14th May – The first Friday Thunderball draw was held.

Wednesday 12th May – An overhaul of the game saw five more balls added to the matrix, taking the total from 34 to 39. The jackpot rose from £250,000 to £500,000 and an extra prize tier for matching just the Thunderball was introduced. These changes altered the odds, as the chances of winning the jackpot went from 1 in 3,895,584 to 1 in 8,060,598, but the overall odds of winning a prize improved. Friday draws were also added as part of the changes.


November - Thunderball began using new Smartplay Halogen II draw machines. This simplified operations and made the draws more dramatic and visually exciting.


Saturday 25th November - Adam Griffiths, a factory worker from Shropshire, scooped the £250,000 jackpot after buying a ticket from his local Tesco, where his sister worked as a checkout assistant. He said he had always thought he would win the lottery, especially Thunderball, and was excited to be able to be able to treat himself to new purchases.


Wednesday 23rd October - A Wednesday draw was added to the existing Saturday draw.


Saturday 12th June - Thunderball was drawn for the first time. The National Lottery operator at that time, Camelot, reportedly spent £10 million on launching Thunderball after deciding to offer their players a new game with superior odds to the existing Lotto. The draw was shown live as part of a new National Lottery television show, Winning Lines, presented by Simon Mayo. Tickets for the game had gone on sale the previous Monday.