Friends reunion gets HBO Max release date – and possible UK home

(Image credit: NBC Universal)

Friends: The Reunion will premiere May 27 on HBO Max, marking the streamer’s one-year anniversary – and it may be available to watch in the UK, too. 

The long-awaited special episode will see all six stars of the hit 1990s sitcom – Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer – return to the show’s original Warner Bros. soundstage for a “real-life, unscripted celebration.”

Several supporting characters from the original show will also be returning for "The One Where They Get Back Together" – Elliott Gould, Reese Witherspoon and Tom Selleck among them.  

What's more, HBO has confirmed that several (read: too many) guests – who have nothing to do with the show, mind – will appear alongside the original cast members, including David Beckham, Justin Bieber, BTS, James Corden, Cara Delevingne, Lady Gaga and Kit Harington, to name a few. 

Ben Winston, co-executive producer of The Late Late Show with James Corden, directed the special, while original creators Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane served as executive producers – alongside the original six cast members.

For UK audiences, it's looking increasingly likely that Sky will win the rights to broadcast the special episode. As per a recent Deadlinereport, the Comcast-owned broadcaster is hoping to capitalize on existing ties with WarnerMedia – which already gives Sky exclusive rights to HBO originals – to win a deal to air Friends: The Reunion in the UK, despite it being commissioned for the US-only HBO Max service.

That deal is still being negotiated, however, so it's not certain that the episode will land overseas. It would make sense, though, given the show's iconic status on the other side of the pond. 

In the UK, Friends is most synonymous with Channel 4, which aired first-run episodes, and has remained popular thanks to its extended run on Netflix UK.

Keep your friends close 

A Friends reunion has been on the cards ever since the series concluded with its tenth season back in 2004, but the cast have been famously tight-lipped on details of an official episode.

There’s been hints, of course – like when the show’s original set decorator teased Monica's resurrected apartment – but Friends: The Reunion will mark the first official TV outing for all six original cast members in over a decade.

The reunion special was originally set to be released on HBO Max in May 2020 alongside all 236 episodes of the original series, but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed filming until earlier in 2021.

Our main reservation with this special is that it's not a revival of the actual show – more than a year of hype for a series of interviews is a little bit of overkill. We can't say the long list of guests who have nothing to do with the show fills us with hope, either. If this is a long puff piece for a now-ancient sitcom, it might end up feeling anticlimactic. 

We won’t have to wait much longer to find out what HBO Max has cooking, though – the occupants of New York’s most famous apartments will be reunited on May 27. Now: when's that Joey reunion episode happening?

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.