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10 things you didn't know about Friends to mark its 25th anniversary

 

Next month marks 25 years since we first met our Friends Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey and Phoebe. Here's 10 things you probably never knew about this utterly timeless show.

1. The show was originally called 'Insomnia Cafe'. The title then got changed to 'Friends Like Us', then 'Six to One' before finally they decided to keep things simple and premiere the show as 'Friends'. Thank goodness they did - it's hard to imagine the whole world sitting down every night to watch 'Insomnia Cafe'. 

2. This was the show's original pitch: "It's about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything's possible. And it's about friendship because when you're single and in the city, your friends are your family." They totally nailed that!

3. The writers originally thought the big romance of the series would be Joey and Monica! It wasn't until they started nutting out the series that Ross and Rachel even crossed their mind.

4. Matt LeBlanc originally didn't want to be part of the show, and the creators didn't want LeBlanc to be part of it either. It's rumoured that LeBlanc thought the pilot script "sucked", while series co-creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman said LeBlanc was "shoved down our throats" by the networ, NBC. AND thank goodness they did!

5. It wasn't all good advice from NBC. Before the show was set to premiere they started to get nervous. The concern was that a coffee shop setting might be considered too hip, so they wanted to change it to a diner, like Seinfeld. They also wanted an older mentor character called Pat the cop. The writers gave it a go, quickly realised that Pat was a bore, and he never made it into the series. Sorry, Pat!

6. In its first season, each actor was paid $22,500 an episode - not bad for a 24 episode season! By the time the show wrapped up in season 10, each actor was getting over a million an ep. 

7. Hank Azaria - the voice of Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and a million and one other characters on The Simpsons - auditioned twice for the part of Joey. In fact, he was so keen for the part, he begged the executives for that second audition. Can you imagine Moe Szyslak as Joey? Azaria later did appear in the series as Phoebe's scientist boyfriend.

8. R.E.M's 'Shiny Happy People' was originally meant to the be show's theme song (it was used on the unaired pilot ep), but Michael Stipe from R.E.M said no. This might be why: it's well known that R.E.M kinda hate their own song, despite its success. They refused to play it live or include it on their 2003 best-of album 'In Time'.

9. The show's eventual theme song 'I'll Be There For You' was never meant to be the huge chart hit it was. The Rembrandts wrote the song with Friends creators Crane and Kauffman specifically to be the show's theme. But the theme was so popular that a radio announcer in Nashville looped the original minute-long theme out to three minutes and started playing it like it was an actual song. This prompted the Rembrandts to write a second verse and a bridge and release it as a single, where it went straight to number 1.

10. Courtney Cox originally auditioned to be Rachel, but the part went to Jennifer Aniston. Lisa Kudrow says Phoebe is partially based on Jennider Aniston and her interest in spirituality. Meanwhile Matt LeBlanc has admitted to having a crush on Jennifer Aniston in the show's first series. But as he says, "I think the whole world did."