Friends reunion UK: how to watch 2021 special on TV in UK, what channel, release date, and how long is it?

The original cast of the beloved American sitcom have returned to our screens for a 2021 unscripted special – The One Where They Get Back Together
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The most anticipated sitcom episode of all time, Friends: The Reunion, is out now for viewers in the UK.

The one-off special comes nearly 17 years after the famous Central Perk group parted ways, with rumours circulating since November 2019 that there would be a reunion.

So, what happens in the show, which cast members are returning, and when is the special episode being shown in the UK? This is everything you need to know.

The cast of Friends have reunited for a one-off show, 17 years after the last episode aired (Picture: HBO MAX)The cast of Friends have reunited for a one-off show, 17 years after the last episode aired (Picture: HBO MAX)
The cast of Friends have reunited for a one-off show, 17 years after the last episode aired (Picture: HBO MAX)
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Who stars in Friends: The Reunion?

Fans of the show will be relieved to know that no one got left behind, as all six of the main characters make a return.

Schwimmer (Ross), Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Courteney Cox (Monica), Matthew Perry (Chandler) and Matt Leblanc (Joey) all returned to the original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros lot in Burbank, California, last month - after a year of delays caused by the Covid pandemic.

Friends came to an end 17 years agoFriends came to an end 17 years ago
Friends came to an end 17 years ago

Props such as the famous water fountain, the sofa and the empty picture frame on the door are still intact and many will feature in the reunion episode.

Also returning to Stage 24 were Maggie Wheeler (Janice), James Michael Tyler (Gunther), Reese Witherspoon (Jill) and Tom Selleck (Richard), as well as Elliott Gould and Christina Pickles, who played Ross and Monica's parents, Jack and Judy.

The episode pays homage to the 10-series sitcom from the outset, with producers teasing it as ‘The One Where They Get Back Together’. It was filmed in front of a live audience, all of whom where Covid tested.

Bringing the show into the present day are celebrity guests, including David Beckham, Lady Gaga, BTS, Cara Delevingne, Mindy Kaling, James Corden, Malala Yousafzai and Justin Bieber.

What is the episode about?

The trailer invokes a whole lot of nostalgia, with the gang hanging out on the set of Friends.

The group play general knowledge games about the sitcom, as well as sharing memories and clarifying if Ross realllllly was on a break...

Ahead of the reunion airing, Schwimmer told FT that it was never going to be scripted, as the TV show was about friends at that time in their life, when friends are your family.

“The creators of the show are of the same mind as we are, which is that they loved the way it ended,” he said.

“Also, the whole show was about a time in those characters’ lives when your friends were your family. At our age, a lot of people have their own families, so there’s really no interest in trying to [recreate that].”

He added that “the cast had a great time” returning to Warner Bros., with the reunion being “emotional for everyone”.

Aniston also alluded to the unscripted nature of the reunion, telling Variety: “I will not be Rachel, although I kind of am.

"Well, we're all sort of little fragments of them. Not really. But yeah."

Following filming, Cox appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she told the host: ‘It was so unbelievable, so emotional.

“It’s an unscripted reunion and we got to be on Stage 24 for the first time all of us in, I forget how many years. 15 years? 17 years?”

Friends aired for a decade, from 1994 to 2004.

How to watch Friends: The Reunion on UK TV

Friends: The Reunion is available for UK viewers now. It was released on 27 May at 8am, on Sky One and NOW TV.

The one-off episode runs for 1hr 39 mins, and includes table reads, trivia games, fashion shows, archive clips and celebrity interviews.