Don't panic, 'Friends' is staying on UK Netflix for the foreseeable future

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Friends (Credit: NBC)

Fans of Friends in the UK can breathe a sigh of relief. Ross, Rachel, Joey, Monica, Chandler and Phoebe aren't going anywhere.

News breaking in the US has revealed that the hit 90s sitcom is to be pulled from Netflix, ahead of the beloved series being moved over to WarnerMedia's new streaming platform HBO Max, which launches in America next year.

In a tweet, the streaming site confirmed that all 236 episodes of the show will be departing.

However, Netflix on this side of the pond has told Yahoo Movies UK that it will remain on the UK service for the foreseeable future.

“As it stands there are no plans to remove Friends from the UK service,” a Netflix spokesperson tells Yahoo.

In 2018, Ofcom research showed that Friends remains the most-streamed show in the UK, despite it coming to an end in 2004. Netflix reportedly paid $80m (£63m) last year to retain the streaming rights to the New York-based sitcom for the US market, promising its American subscribers they would be able to watch the show “through 2019”.

Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos told Vulture, “Friends is hugely popular all over the world.”

WarnerMedia in the US, however, is trumpeting the arrival of Friends on the new HBO service, one of a glut of new streaming platforms which will be emerging at the end of this year and into 2020. There doesn’t appear to be any plans to launch HBO Max in the UK.

(L-R) Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox in the final episode of <i>Friends</i> (Photo by: NBCU Photo Bank)

“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform,” said WarnerMedia chairman Robert Greenblatt.

Read more: Aniston backtracks on reunion reports

“HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is Friends.”

Also arriving in November this year will be Disney+, which will bring together all Disney-owned content into one place, while producing new shows like Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian and a host of new Marvel spin offs featuring the likes of Loki and Hawkeye.

Disney UK has confirmed that it plans to launch Disney+ in Western Europe between October 2019 and March 2020. It’s likely to replace Disney Life, the company’s UK streaming service.