Movies Television

Friends is the UK’s most popular subscription streaming show

Written by Darius Rubics

It’s been 14 years since Friends ended, but we love Ross, Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Phoebe as much as always.

The sitcom has beaten recent releases to top a list of the UK’s most popular shows on paid-for streaming services.

Netflix UK added Friends in January and twice as many episodes were streamed in the first three months of 2018 than its nearest rival, Amazon’s The Grand Tour.

Services like Netflix and Amazon don’t publish viewer figures, but this data has been released by TV watchdog Ofcom.

The list in Ofcom’s Media Nations report, based on a survey of 2,500 viewers, ranks the most-watched programmes on subscription streaming services.

Although Netflix is pumping huge sums into its original programming – spending about $6.8bn (£5.3bn) this year alone – a show that ran from 1994-2004 has come out on top.

The popularity of Friends probably has something to do with many fans binge viewing after 234 episodes were added to Netflix UK at the start of the year.

While many Friends fans were delighted when it arrived on Netflix UK, it sparked a debate after some people found parts of the humour were now unpalatable.

Writer Rebecca Reid told BBC Radio 5 live in January she “couldn’t believe how badly it has aged”.

“The homophobia is staggering – the punchline of every joke about Ross is that his ex-wife is a lesbian, as if that’s some failing of his and that it’s hilarious that she’s a lesbian,” she said.

“The sexism’s pretty rampant as well… [and] it’s the whitest show in the whole world.” She did acknowledge, however, that “she did sort of love it”.

There is still huge interest in the show, and Jennifer Aniston, who played Rachel, recently said she “fantasises” about the show being brought back.

As well as being on Netflix, the show is broadcast on Comedy Central daily in the UK.

The channel has also enjoyed success with FriendsFest – a live touring event where fans can walk into recreations of Central Perk and the characters’ apartments. Tickets have sold out in four of the six cities it is visiting this summer.

 

 

About the author

Darius Rubics

Leave a Comment