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Android dialer: IT Crowd's 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3 easter egg
For those in the USA dialing 911 will get you the emergency services, for those in Europe it is often 112, while those in the UK are used to dialing 999. The idea of a central number for calling the emergency services was first introduced in London in 1937, using the aforementioned 999. However that all changed in 2006 when it was replaced with the snappy, easier to remember number of 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3. OK, that didn’t happen, but it is one of the comedy elements in Graham Linehan’s cult TV shows, the IT Crowd.
In the episode “Calamity Jen” we see Moss watching an advert announcing the new emergency service number… The advert goes like this: “From today, dialling 999 won’t get you the emergency services. And that’s not the only thing that’s changing. Nicer ambulances, faster response times and better-looking drivers mean they’re not just ‘the’ emergency services – they’re ‘your’ emergency services. So, remember the new number: 0118 999 881 999 119 725…3″
The context of the joke is that a few years before, in 2003, the UK changed another of its famous direct dial numbers. Until 2003 you could call directory enquiries (to find out the phone number of someone if you knew their name and address) by dialling 192. That system was privatized and you had to dial 118 NNN where the NNN was the number assigned to a commercial service provider, the most famous of which became 118 118.
Anyway, enough of the history lesson. The whole “0118 999 881 999 119 725 3” thing was a popular joke among IT Crowd fans, and it looks like there are were IT Crowd fans at Google. Back in 2016, it was revealed if you dial “0118 999 881 999 119 725 3” into the default dialer on stock Marshmallow you get to see a Google Easter egg. Once you tap in the numbers the dial button will flash blue and red, like a police car or other emergency services vehicle!
Keep in mind the feature pretty much only works on stock devices still rocking Marshmallow. Considering Android 6 is quite old at this stage, there’s probably only a small minority of folks that can still get this Easter Egg.