The one with the reunion (and power to break live TV records)

Ellie Riley, AV Manager


As an avid Friends fan myself, I was very excited to hear that a reunion episode was finally coming to our screens.

The one off special, which aired on 27th May, saw the original cast come together for a celebration of the much-loved sitcom. Showing behind the scenes clips, re-enactments of old episodes, as well interviews with the original cast and special guests.

And it seems it wasn’t just me excited about the return of the sitcom, the show broke viewing records for Sky One, with 5.3m watching the highly anticipated reunion.

The special was broadcast on Sky One at 8am (the time of release in the US) and then later that evening at 8pm. Incredibly, the morning broadcast was accountable for nearly 50% of broadcast viewing, peaking at 3.5million individuals, dominating viewing across the time band.

The show was Sky’s most watched programme across live, recorded and downloaded viewing in the last 2 years.

In streaming service NOW’s history, it was the most-watched piece of content in the first 24 hours from release, second only to Game of Thrones.


For a show that first aired 27 years ago, this success could be put down to three things in my opinion:

  • Must-see appointment to view content that is going to get people talking is still best served live. After all who wants to inadvertently take in a spoiler on social before having viewed it yourself especially when it’s a viewing event of such magnitude?
  • At a time of such uncertainty, the power of ‘retro’ continues to be significant. Many research studies have shown that memories of past times, when life was deemed ‘easier’, can elicit significant feelings of comfort, security and trust for the British public. I am sure Friends most definitely holds that power for a lot of people and this show offered a much-welcomed chance of escapism.
  • The most important one, Friends was, is and always will be a cultural phenomenon!


One thing for sure, I will most certainly be adding to the viewing numbers by watching it on catch up a couple more times!


Source: Sky Media, BARB, YouGov