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Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 00:06 GMT 01:06 UK


Pools winner Viv in tears at première

A pools win took Viv from rags to riches, and back again

Spend, Spend, Spend pools winner Viv Nicholson was moved to tears by the West End première of a musical celebrating her roller-coaster life.

Viv, 63, was in tears when she joined the cast on stage at the Piccadilly Theatre at the end of the show about her rags to riches and back again life.

Singer Barbara Dickson plays Viv, the housewife who won £152,000 on the pools in 1961 and famously vowed she would "spend, spend, spend" until the money had gone.

She married five times, hit the bottle, and was eventually declared bankrupt, but not before she had become a folk hero.

The musical is based on a book by Viv, who later became a Jehovah's Witness.

Cheeky flash

But at the première, even as she choked back tears and was led off by Ms Dickson, Viv suddenly pulled up her gown to flash her garters at the audience, many of whom were on their feet.

Afterwards, she perched in the back of a pink Chevrolet, just like the one she and husband Keith bought after their pools win in 1961.

Playing to the crowd, Viv threw her arms out and declared: "I love you all, thank you."

She said her comic flash was because "I was upset, I was happy, I was everything".

Love story

But the euphoria did not last.

Now a hairdresser in her home town of Castleford, West Yorkshire, Viv said: "This isn't me. This isn't me, is it?" turning to her children and grandchildren who stood around.

The musical is based on Viv's autobiography, and tells the story of her win, her love story with second husband Keith, three subsequent unhappy marriages and partying.

The show has already run for a season in Plymouth.

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