Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Could it BE more over?

It's the end of an era.

After what seems like an eternity, Channel 4 (and its multiple offshoots) have ended their fifteen year deal with Warner Bros to exclusively air Friends.

Even though the show ended five years ago, it's become such a staple of the media landscape that it's hard to turn on the TV without seeing the giant porcelain greyhound, the peephole picture-frame, or a thin Matthew Perry spitting a spray of water out of his mouth.

In fact, Friends has become so ubiquitous, that it's hard to remember that, for the best part of a decade, it was the best comedy show on TV. Maybe we take it for granted, like a moving version of the test card picture of the girl with the terrifying clown ragdoll.

Even now, the show manages to drum up daily viewing figures of around 400,000, despite the fact that the majority of the population must have committed all 236 episodes to memory.

The E4 schedulers must be flicking through page after page of blank diary sheets, wondering how they're ever going to fill all that space without Monica's OCD, Rachel's amazing hair or Ross's borderline paedophilia.

As for The Rembrandts, who performed the show's nosebleed-inducing theme tune, they're going to take a massive hit on their royalties now that it's not going to be broadcast around the clock.

Head of Channel 4 acquisitions Gill Hay says "It's time to say goodbye to old Friends and welcome new ones, in the form of more comedy, drama and entertainment from the US and UK. We are incredibly proud to have been the home of Friends for so long, but at a point when the channel is undergoing a period of creative renewal it felt like the right time to part company."

It's a sad time for anyone who's grown accustomed to their daily fix of Central Perk. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that BBC takes note and follows suit by finally putting 'Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps' out of its misery. At least Friends had the decency to be funny.


  1. Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps make me feel more sick than two pints of lager and a packet of crisps really should.

  2. I thought Two Pints was a BBC testing ground to discover the results of taking 'vaguely funny minor characters' from other shows and putting them in the same room. Is that not the case?

  3. I thought it was more about testing the absolute limit of what people will watch before overdosing on Oxycontin.