Today one national newspaper gave over its first three pages to coverage of the Health Lottery, the “exciting new game” set up by Daily Express and Red Hot Mums owner Richard Desmond. That paper, not surprisingly, is the Daily Express.

“New lottery to make Britain better,” the paper trumpeted, marking perhaps its first positive spin on a news story since Germany surrendered.

Elsewhere, reaction has mostly been characterised by wry comments about the weight of Eamonn Holmes, who was flanked at yesterday’s glittering launch by a bevy of veteran stunnas including Donna Air and that one off Big Brother who went out with Jonathan Woodgate.

The new game’s jovial host made a good-humoured reference to his ample circumference as he spoke at the launch, telling assembled hacks – most of whom are themselves no stranger to a freebie buffet – that he was “as surprised as you” to land the gig as the cherubic face of a healthy, new Britain.

While Holmes was in light-hearted mood, Northern & Shell is deadly serious about the launch. With an upfront marketing investment running into tens of millions of pounds, the Health Lottery claims to be the biggest brand launch of the past decade. It also reckons 98% of adults in the UK will have seen its adverts – which debut on ITV this evening – no fewer than 28 times by the time of the first draw.

As Elinor Zuke reported for The Grocer on Saturday, the Health Lottery is not the first to take on Camelot at its own game – including an ill-starred NHS Lotto that folded in 1996. Then again, if you don’t buy a ticket…