Friends is no longer on a break: 12 years after the sitcom’s finale and following reams of rumour and speculation, it’s been confirmed that almost all of the cast will reunite for a two-hour special.
As part of a tribute to veteran sitcom director James Burrows, who recently shot his 1,000th television episode (15 of which were episodes of Friends), Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey and Phoebe will take part in a one-off, airing on US network NBC on Sunday, 21 February.
Chandler, however, won’t be attending. Matthew Perry, the actor who plays him, will be too tied up with rehearsals with his London show, according to his representative.
She told The Telegraph: “Regarding Matthew Perry and the James Burrows tribute, Matthew will not be attending, as he is in London in rehearsals for his play, The End of Longing, which begins previews on February 2 at the Playhouse Theatre.”
“NBC executives were aware of this prior to their TCA announcement yesterday. Matthew may tape something for the tribute.”
“In other words, this is not the reunion people have been hoping for.”
Although remaining castmates David Schwimmer, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow are all expected to appear in the reunion episode, NBC chief Robert Greenblatt admits that there is a chance it won’t be possible to get them all in the same room. “I’m hoping all six will be in the same room at the same time,” he said. “I’m not sure we can logistically pull it off.”
Fans of the hit show, which followed the fortunes of six friends living in New York, have been clamouring for a reunion for years. However, the show’s co-creator Marta Kaufman has always been adamant that the team would not be reuniting for a scripted episode: last year, he told E! News that fans “have to let it go. It’ll never happen – not happening!”