THOUGH it’s nearly 25 years since it began – and almost 15 years since it ended – it seems Friends will always be there for young people.
The US sitcom, a favourite with guest stars, is still the top TV show for UK kids under 16, and as researchers say: “The focus on friendships and relationships is relatable to teens.”
The last episode is still one of the most-watched finales in TV history, with 65million viewers tuning in.
Here, we reveal some fascinating Friends facts.
1) Writers David Crane and Marta Kauffman called the sitcom Insomnia Café. After NBC bought the pilot episode it changed the title to Friends Like Us, then Across The Hall, switching to Six Of One before finally settling on Friends.
2) Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe, was originally cast as Roz in Frasier. But while making the pilot show, the cast just didn’t click and she was fired – leaving her free to join Friends.
3)Producers originally wanted Courteney Cox to play Rachel – Jennifer Aniston’s role – but Courteney requested the part of Monica because she liked the “strong” character.
4) Eric McCormack – the Will of Will & Grace – auditioned to be Ross. Comedienne Kathy Griffin and Glee star Jane Lynch both went for the Phoebe role. Leah Remini auditioned for Monica and Tea Leoni was offered Rachel but said no. Jon Favreau and Jon Cryer both auditioned for Chandler.
5) Ross’s pet capuchin monkey Marcel was written out when it became too time-consuming to film the animal scenes.
6) Bruce Willis appeared on the show for free, donating his fee to charity, after losing a bet to Matthew Perry over how their 2000 film The Whole Nine Yards would do.
7) A lot of people thought Chandler was gay – including Lisa Kudrow when she first read the script.
8) Matthew Perry went to rehab for alcoholism twice during Friends. He also had a prescription drug problem but claims he was “never high at work”, just “painfully hungover”.
9) The original theme tune for the show was going to be REM’s Shiny Happy People but the band reportedly turned it down.
10) Joey’s tacky white dog statue actually belonged to Jennifer Aniston. A friend gave it to her as a good-luck present when the show started.
11)The fountain in the opening credits isn’t in Manhattan, where the show is set, but 2,800 miles away in Burbank, California.
12) Producers feared Monica was too promiscuous in the pilot episode, when she forgets a bed partner’s name. They asked the pilot audience, who were happy with the story, so it stayed.
13) When Friends began in 1994, the cast were paid $22,000 (£17,000) each per episode. By the sixth series their pay differed, so they demanded equality. By the final 2004 series they were each getting $1million (£765,000) per show.
14) Three Simpsons stars were in Friends – Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer who voiced Homer, Moe and Mr Burns respectively.
15) At 54, Courteney Cox is older than David Schwimmer, 52, despite playing his younger sister.
16) Before the show was cast, Monica and Joey were intended to be the central couple but the idea was shelved following the pilot episode.
17) The Friends characters have all kissed each other, if you include off-screen moments and “what if?” episodes, except for Monica and Phoebe.
18) Real-life barista James Michael Tyler was hired as a Friends extra before being cast as Central Perk coffee house manager Gunther.
19) When Rachel and Joey got together in 2002 viewers were not happy – and nor were the cast. Matt LeBlanc said: “It felt wildly inappropriate.”
20) Ellen DeGeneres turned down the role of Phoebe and launched her own sitcom, Ellen, in the same year, 1994.
21) “Ugly Naked Guy”, the fat tenant in the building opposite Monica’s apartment, was played by actor Jon Haugen.
22) Jennifer Aniston was known for being late on the film set so often that the cast eventually confronted her about it, led by David Schwimmer.
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23) Jennifer almost backed out of the last series in 2004, having established her name beyond Friends, with movie roles in Picture Perfect, Bruce Almighty and Along Came Polly. She was also married to Brad Pitt.
24) Chandler was not meant to be awkward around women. He ended up being written that way after Matthew Perry told producers about his own trouble with women.
25) The cast had a huddle before filming each episode to wish each other good luck.
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