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The Friends reunion has finally arrived – and the TV event of the year did not disappoint.
The six stars of the classic sitcom got together again on their iconic set for the first time in 17 years to look back on their decade of television domination.
Hosted by James Corden and featuring guest contributions from the likes of Lady Gaga, Cara Delevingne, Justin Bieber and David Beckham, the two-hour special showing on Sky One and Now is a fitting tribute to a show which has been watched 100 billion times all over the world since launching in 1994.
But while the guest stars proved great fun, the reunion really excelled when the six actors reflected back on the series and revealed what really went on during the takes and off camera.
Here are the top ten revelations from the Friends: The Reunion.
Beware: Reunion spoilers ahead.
Courtney Cox would big up her part
Matt LeBlanc had the pals in stitches when he revealed that Courtney Cox would write her character Monica's lengthier lines on the dining table of the kitchen set. And when she snapped at him after he spotted them, he quickly pranked her in return. He told Phoebe star Lisa Kudrow: “I never knew she did that and I saw it one day and said ‘What is this?’, and she said ‘Mind your business.’ So before we shot that night, I erased it all and she got so mad.”
David Schwimmer played hard to get
Creators David Bright, Marta Kaufman and David Crane had to really pursue David Schwimmer for the part of Ross after writing it with him in mind. Schwimmer had quit TV after bad experiences on previous shows and they had to beg him to come back for Friends, sending a gift basket and a script.
Crane said: “We had to beg him and beseech him.”
Two of its biggest names nearly missed out
Perry escaped dodgy scifi pilot LAX 2194 when a Warners executive realised Friends had more of a future, while Aniston pleaded with the boss of short-lived Muddling Through, to get out of her contract. The Friends producers gambled by shooting three episodes with Aniston knowing that if the other took off, they’d have to redo everything with a new actress if she couldn’t get out.
Ross secretly hated Marcel the monkey
While he insists he is an animal lover, David Schwimmer didn’t enjoy working with his simian costar in the early series primarily because so many takes would have to be redone when he didn’t do the required moves. But his biggest problem was when Marcel’s trainer would feed the beast some grubs insects while it was sitting on Schwimmer’s shoulder, and he said it would then “rub his monkey grubby hands all over me.”
One relationship was meant to be much shorter
Chandler and Monica’s relationship was planned to be a very brief fling until they filmed the episode and the audience went wild at the bedsheets / morning after reveal in the London wedding episode. Co-creator Marta Kaufman said: “It was such a powerful moment, we knew we had to explore it more.”
Matt LeBlanc popped his shoulder out while doing a fourth take of a couch leaping gag, and he attributed it to the fact the six of them had not done their traditional huddle before filming – he superstitiously made sure they never missed one after that.
The origins of Janice
Janice actress Maggie Wheeler came up with her annoying character’s trademark machine gun cackle when she first met Matthew Perry on set, because the gifted comedian made her laugh so much that she knew she’d need to do something to cope with that. She said: “It was born in the moment.”
Reese's big moment
Years before working with Jennifer Aniston in hit Apple+ series The Morning Show, Reese Witherspoon was thrilled to guest star as Aniston’s on-screen wee sister, describing the part as a lottery win. But she was more excited to get a catchphrase chat up line from Matt LeBlanc’s Joey. She said: “One of the most exciting things was I got to be in the scene where I'm in the apartment and Joey walks in and goes, 'How you doin'?' It was this iconic line and I was so excited.”
Romance behind the scenes
The biggest reveal of all was the admission from on-screen lovers Aniston and Schwimmer that they had real life feelings for each other, mirroring the Ross and Rachel relationship playing out in the series. They tried to keep it secret, with Aniston recalling: ”How did everyone not know we were crushing hard on each other?”
It was unrequited
But they also confirmed they never acted on it, with Schwimmer describing their romantic fate as “two ships passing” because they were always in other relationships at one time or another. Aniston said though: “We channelled all that adoration and love for each other into Ross and Rachel.”
WATCH: Friends Reunion - what to expect