01632 area code

Fictional locations

Several sets of non-working, dummy phone numbers for fictional use exist in the United Kingdom. They are designed for use where a realistic but undialable number is required in a drama, novel or similar work.

The 01632 area code

The area code 01632 is not allocated to any area and is reserved especially for fictional use in films, TV programmes and books.

It is recommended that numbers beginning 01632 are used wherever a realistic landline number is needed, unless a more specific block of fake numbers exists (see below).

The 01632 area code is usually followed by a random six-digit number, mimicking the style of phone numbers found in much of Britain.

Although only numbers from (01632) 960000 to 960999 are officially reserved for this purpose, other six- and five-digit numbers are sometimes seen being used after the code as it contains no working phone numbers and is unlikely to do so in the future.

Other fake landline numbers

There are also other non-working numbers set aside for major UK cities whose codes are more likely to be recognised by viewers. For example, London's 020 area code is widely-known, so a small batch of dummy 020 numbers is available for dramas and works of fiction set in the capital.

Belfast(028) 9018 0000 to 9018 0999
Birmingham(0121) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Bristol(0117) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Cardiff(029) 2018 0000 to 2018 0999
Edinburgh(0131) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Glasgow(0141) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Leeds(0113) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Leicester(0116) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Liverpool(0151) 496 0000 to 496 0999
London(020) 7946 0000 to 7946 0999
Manchester(0161) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham(0191) 498 0000 to 498 0999
Nottingham(0115) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Reading(0118) 496 0000 to 496 0999
Sheffield(0114) 496 0000 to 496 0999

Fake mobile and business numbers

Specific batches of dummy numbers are also available for mobiles and business services.

Mobile phones07700 900000 to 900999
Freephone0808 157 0000 to 157 0999
Premium rate0909 879 0000 to 879 0999
UK-wide0306 999 0000 to 999 0999

Origins and purpose

When real, working telephone numbers have been included deliberately or accidentally in TV programmes, films or song lyrics, they have often ended up receiving high numbers of calls from curious viewers and listeners. Even where an apparently unused phone number is chosen, there is a strong risk of somebody being issued that number in the future and then receiving many unwanted calls. To avoid this, specific sets of fake but authentic-looking phone numbers are made available specifically for fictitious use.

American '555' numbers are perhaps the best-known examples, from the Simpsons' 555-3226 to the Ghostbusters' number of 555-2368. Many other countries now have similar sets of fake numbers.

Links

Red telephone boxes