I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Ofcom has allocated blocks of telephone numbers in different geographic areas for radio and television dramas. So all those vans and hoardings that appear in Eastenders and Coronation Street should all fall into this range.
There are also numbers for mobiles and for freecalls.
So now instead of speculating whether the number you see on the screen is real or trying to work out the specific suburb that a number might ‘belong’ to, the challenge instead is to spot numbers in ‘regional’ drama that don’t fall within the these reserved ranges. A sort of telephone number bingo.
The full list is at Ofcom. But some of the key ones are
Glasgow0141496 0000 to 496 0999Liverpool0151496 0000 to 496 0999Manchester0161496 0000 to 496 0999London0207946 0000 to 7946 0999Tyneside/Durham/Sunderland0191498 0000 to 498 0999
But failing that anything with the area code 01632 is a fake…