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Series / 999

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NINE-NINE! NINE! Tonight on 999...

999 (also known as 999 Lifesavers and 999 International) is a British docudrama TV series that was shown on the BBC from 1992 to 2003. It was presented by the newsreader Michael Buerk and was the British equivalent to Rescue 911.

A similar, more child-friendly series called Against All Odds ran on CBBC from 2000 to 2004.

This show contains examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: Whenever a child had to be rescued, it was usually because no-one was watching them at the time.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: When it wasn't showing rescues, the series went out of its way to educate the audience on how to deal with all potential dangers.
  • Bee Afraid: Attacks by bees and wasps were a common feature in the early years of the series.
  • Bitter Sweet Ending: Occasionally...
  • Did Not Think This Through: Sometimes the victims ended up in danger because they didn't recognise the potential risks their actions could lead to.
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  • Everybody Lives: More often than not.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: The series emphasised that just about everything presented a potential risk to the lives of people and animals.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence:
  • Free-Range Children: Some rescues came about as a result of children being left unattended and free to do as they pleased.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: How else would the victims end up in danger in the first place?
  • Jump Scare: Guaranteed to happen at some point, given the nature of the series as a whole, especially the common occurance of the signature three-notes that referred to the title in morse code during each episode.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The series once staged a reconstruction of a fire in a horse barn, leading presenter Michael Buerk to add a disclaimer at the end that not only were none of the horses injured during filming, they were all trained performance animals and weren't even scared for real. (And for the record, all the animals involved in the actual fire were safely evacuated and suffered no lasting harm.)
    • In general, the series occasionally featured rescues involving animals.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Especially so when the victims were rescued from life-threatening situations.
  • Recurring Element: Reconstructions of real-life rescues with testimonies from those involved.
    • Michael Buerk's opening line ("Tonight on 999...")
  • Scare 'Em Straight:
  • Title Drop: In morse code at the end of the theme tune and Michael Buerk's signature opening line.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:

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