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OMG! 20 Years Of Friends

Genre: Sitcom
Started: 22nd September 1994
Ended: 6th May 2004
Created by: David Crane and Marta Kauffman
Series: 10
Episodes: 236
Main Cast: David Schwimmer – Ross Geller
Courtney Cox – Monica Geller
Matt LeBlanc – Joey Tribbiani
Jennifer Aniston – Rachel Green
Matthew Perry – Chandler Bing
Lisa Kudrow – Phoebe Buffay

Guest Stars: Elliot Gould – Jack Geller
Christina Pickles – Judy Geller
James Michael Tyler – Gunther
Maggie Wheeler – Janice Litman
Helen Baxendale – Emily Waltham
Tom Selleck – Richard Burke
Paul Rudd – Mike Hannigan
Jane Sibbett – Carol
Jessica Hecht – Susan

Plot: A group of six from New York who are very different in terms of personality but are firm friends nonetheless. They live in the same neighbourhood and are known for always hanging out at the same coffee shop, Central Perk. When they are not there they can usually be found at Monica’s apartment. The show focuses on the group’s strong friendship, as well as their romantic and career escapades with hilarious results.

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So no one told you life was gonna be this way…

I really, really cannot believe that this year marks twenty years since the first episode of Friends was aired. That’s right, the hit American sit-com about the lives of a close-knit gang of six New Yorkers first hit American screens in September 1994. That’s right – twenty years!!!! My goodness where has the time gone? Since then we’ve been glued to the antics of Joey, Rachel, Phoebe and co. And incidentally it’s been over ten years since the last episode aired in May 1994.

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I can’t put into words how special Friends is to me. Some might even think that’s weird. I mean it’s a television sit-com. Who gets sentimental over a television sit-com? Well, I do! Friends brings back great memories of school days, teenage years, and family moments. Plus it’s as funny as hell! What’s there not to like?

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I first started watching Friends when I was in my mid -teens. Thursday night was treat night, so after a hard night hitting the books, I’d grab a ready meal and settle down in front of the telly to watch my fave show… Channel 4’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?  But before Whose Line began, I’d manage to catch the last few minutes of a new American comedy. It wasn’t long before I started taking my study breaks a little earlier on a Thursday night so I could watch this new American comedy from the beginning of each episode. It was really funny and thoroughly enjoyable… but even then I didn’t realise just how huge it was going to become.

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It wasn’t long before the rest of my family got in on the act. By then Friends had gone from the near-enough graveyard slot to become prime time viewing on a Friday evening. So Friday evenings were spent with us gathered around the telly after dinner, laughing our heads off. Apart from me, my little brother was the biggest Friends fan in our house. We never missed an episode, and it in fact became known as ‘our tradition.’ And every Christmas, my brother would get a new Friends video (yes, it was videos back then) which he would practically watch on repeat. It wasn’t long before we knew practically every line of the script – and used to quote the characters to the point where it both amused and annoyed our sisters.

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Over the last twenty years, we’ve all lost count of how many times Friends has been repeated on the telly. But the thing is that it never gets old. Every time you tune in to each episode, you laugh like you’ve never heard the gags before – and I guess that’s the beauty of the show. In all these years, I’ve only met three people who have said that they can’t stand Friends. That’s just left me wondering what’s wrong with them!

 

So in honour of Friends’ twentieth year, we’re taking a look at twenty things closely associated with the show that have made Friends so unique; this includes our favourite memories and things about the show that – without wanting to be dramatic – actually changed our lives.

1. COFFEE SHOP CULTURE

Today, teenagers hang out in coffee shops up and down the country. And right here in England they have plenty to choose from: Starbucks, Café Nero, Costa, as well as millions of independent coffee shops. Yep, word has gotten out that coffee is big business!

When I was a teenager, we hung out at either McDonalds or the local chippy. If we really wanted to push the boat out, then we had Pizza Hut. But Friends changed all that once we saw how much fun the Friends gang were having at Central Perk. We decided that coffee shops were the only place to lounge around in too. And it seems that we’re not the only ones who thought it was a great idea, as coffee shop culture has now taken off all over the world.

 

2. SOFAS IN COFFEE SHOPS

The sofa at Central Perk was very much the gang’s domain. Remember the gang’s dismay when another group took over the sofa?

I’d never seen a sofa in a coffee shop until I started watching Friends. We certainly didn’t have them here in UK coffee shops. But I thought it was a super cool idea. There’s nothing like getting comfy on the sofa with a steaming cup of coffee whilst having a natter to make yourself feel really at home. Now you can find a comfy, cosy sofa in just about every coffee shop – and I’m willing to bet that that’s mostly thanks to Friends.

 

3. JENNIFER ANISTON: HAIR ICON

When Jennifer Aniston accepted the role of Rachel Green, I bet she didn’t think that her hair would become just a tad bit more famous than her. The ‘Rachel’ cut was the Farrah Flick of it’s day, and the most requested hairstyle in salons worldwide.

I sported a similar do for a while but it was probably not as fab as Jennifer’s. Her hairdo was a layered, longer length bob but it was the savvy way she wore it that made it such a hit. This particular style paved the way for Ms. Aniston to enter into hair icon territory, because even though the numerous great hairstyles she sported throughout the series never quite eclipsed the success of the ‘Rachel,’ Jennifer inevitably became known as ‘the one with the great hair.’

 

4. SMELLY CAT

Phoebe may have known how to rock a guitar but when it came to songwriting, she was known for some rather dubious lyrics. But despite this fact, Smelly Cat became something of a classic – and proof to aspiring musicians everywhere that inspiration for a hit can come from the most unlikeliest of topics!

5. MONICA’S APARTMENT

Who wouldn’t want a spacious yet cosy apartment as inviting as Monica’s. There was criticism that a waitress (Rachel) and a just-starting- caterer (Monica) could never have afforded an apartment in NYC as cool as that in real-life but who cares? It was nice just to dream about it! And even though Monica and hubby Chandler eventually bought a house in the suburbs to raise their family, I think it’s definitely Monica’s apartment that’s the place to be.

 

6. RACHEL’S AMBITION

Rachel Green may have started out as something of a rich, spoilt brat but she eventually learned to stand on her own two feet when Gunther hired her as a waitress at Central Perk. However Rachel’s real dream was to work in fashion – a career she’d pursued once she’d found the confidence to do so.

This resonates well with me because I’ve been there too (no, not the rich, spoilt brat bit!). We’ve all had to abandon our dreams at some point in our lives because real life got in the way. But Rachel showed us that with a little perseverance and dedication, it’s possible to get there in the end.

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7. WE WERE ON A BREAK!

Rachel wanted a break from her relationship with Ross. Ross thought that meant he could date other people – so he did. This didn’t go down too well with Rachel when she found out, so she decided that their temporary break should become a more permanent one.

This Ross and Rachel saga struck fear into the hearts of most people who were going through a rough patch in their relationships causing them to spell out exactly what ‘being on a break’ meant!

8. NEW YORK BECAME THE PLACE TO BE

OK, so even before Friends, New York was hardly on the bottom of everyone’s ‘must visit’ list. In fact for many people it was at the top of their ‘must live there’ list! But Friends – along with Sex And The City – was a great advert for New York City and made those who didn’t live there want to take an even bigger bite out of the Big Apple (even though the show was filmed in California!)

 

9. ROSS: THE PATRON SAINT OF GEEKS

Straight-laced, socially-awkward brainiac Ross Gellar who revelled in his staus as ‘Dr.Gellar,’ was overly-enthusiastic about science and loved his career as a palaeontologist, was the saviour of academics, and dare I say it, geeks everywhere! He proved that you didn’t have to be the coolest kid on the block to land the hottest girl.

10. THOSE CATCHPHRASES

Oh…My…God! How you doin’? Could you be any more stupid? We were on a break!

If you’re a Friends fan, those catchphrases will need no explanation!

11. THE ONE WITH THE…

Friends writers knew that even if they gave episodes an actual name, that viewers would refer to these episodes as ‘The one with the eggplant,’ or ‘The one where Rachel finds out.’ So that’s exactly what they called these episodes with the title beginning with the words ‘The One…’. No other TV show has done this and I think it’s quite clever really!

 

12. EVERYONE HAD A FRIEND WITH THE WORD ‘FUN’ IN THEIR NAME

Remember Monica’s ex-boyfriend, Fun Bobby? He was the life and soul of the party… until everyone discovered that without alcohol, he really wasn’t that much fun!

Nonetheless some of us took to prefixing the name of our loudest and wildest friend with the word ‘Fun’ so that it became a part of their name. I know I did and I have to say that hanging out with Fun Lucy was always a barrel of laughs!

13. IT’S OK TO GET WITH YOUR FRIENDS

So serial divorcé Ross got with Rachel, while his sister Monica cured his commitment phobic friend Chandler. Both couples highlighted the pitfalls of dating a good friend – but in the end, it all worked out for the best. And Friends’ fans cheered when these couples got together – and probably plucked up the courage to ask their best friend of ten years who they’d secretly admired from afar out for a drink.

We all waited for Phoebe and Joey to hook up but the scriptwriters had other ideas. Perhaps they didn’t want to be too predictable. Perhaps they thought Mike Hannigan was better for Phoebe. Perhaps they wanted to give Joey his own show…

 

14. SIMILAR SHOWS

To say Friends was huge is like saying that water is a little bit wet. It was a phenomenon – and still is! It wasn’t long before other program makers the world over got in on the act and tried to recreate the show’s winning formula: a group of close friends who are almost like family in an apartment/coffee shop/bar setting, who support each other through trials and tribulations especially romantic disasters. Unlike soap operas were friends could stab each other in the back, in these types of shows, friends had each other’s back.

Some of these shows popped up even before Friends had finished its run, and not all of them were sitcoms, but the ones that were injected the same kind of wit and humour that made Friends so popular. So before we knew it, we were settling down to watch Cold Feet, Coupling, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Sex And The City, and That 70s Show.

But of course, as awesome as these shows are, and I do enjoy watching them too, there can only ever be one Friends.

 

15. THE CAST BECAME MEGA STARS

The cast of Friends were all established actors before they played our favourite group of New Yorkers. But they hadn’t reached the dizzying heights of stardom with any of their previous work (although I remember Matt LeBlanc’s Heinz ketchup commercial very well!) But Friends changed all that for the six actors who went on to become household names. And ten years after the show ended, they’re still very much in the spotlight.

I also think that it’s fantastic that all six actors wanted to remain in the show through the course of its ten year run. Nobody chose to quit the series to concentrate on other projects which meant that all six of our favourite characters appeared in every series and were played by the same actors during the course of ten years which I think is amazing and quite unusual.

 

16. IT BROUGHT THE WORLD CLOSER TOGETHER

I’m wondering if there’s a country in the world which hasn’t broadcast a single episode of Friends… no, I didn’t think so! Maggie Wheeler who played Chandler’s ex-girlfriend, Janice, expressed her surprise when a fan from India approached her to say how much she loved Friends, proving just how much of a world-wide phenomenon the show had become. Despite the hit comedy being dubbed in multiple languages, everyone understand the language of friendship, and it’s great to know that you can go anywhere in the world and you’re bound to bump into someone who knows who the Friends gang are.

I wonder how you translate, “How you doin’?” in Cantonese…

 

17. TACKLING SOCIAL ISSUES WITH HUMOUR

Looking back, it amazes me that my brother was allowed to watch Friends at such a young age because as funny as it is, it did deal with some pretty adult themes: divorce; infertility; surrogacy; adoption; single motherhood; casual sex; alcoholism… not exactly a barrel of laughs. But despite the heavy content, each issue was handled with humour and sensitivity so you didn’t feel as though you were watching the most depressing show on earth.

Eastenders, take note!

 

18. WE WANTED OUR OWN FRIENDS GANG

I had a friend at university who explained that his posse were “just like Friends from off the telly.”

“There’s six of us as well. And we all hang out at a coffee shop too. And each one of us are just like one of the characters.”

Well he ‘s not the only one who thought that way. The truth is we all wanted our own little Friends gang, and we could relate to at least one of the characters. Me? I’m a strange mix of Phoebe and Rachel!

 

19. THEME TUNE

There can’t be a single person on the planet who doesn’t know the words to that famous theme tune or who wouldn’t be able to recognise the melody. Performed by The Rembrandts, it is without a doubt their biggest hit and the one they’ll always be remembered for.

The lyrics fit the concept of the show perfectly and furthermore illustrates the meaning of friendship.

20. FRAMILY

Most of us were brought up on the mantra that family comes first – and for the most part that’s how it should be. But the show taught us that it was possible to love your friends like family. It’s not always about blood, genetics or DNA – it’s about the strong bond of genuine love, respect and friendship. Even the friends cast have said that they’ve become like family which is most inspiring.

 

So there you have it – all the things that makes Friends so fantasically unique and one of a kind. I’m so glad that Friends is as relevant today as it was when it began twenty years ago. Whereas a lot of once popular comedies now appear dated, I really do believe that Friends will remain a classic.

Here’s to the next twenty years.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Comedy Shows, TV Shows

 

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10 TV Show Theme Tunes We Loved Singing Along To

I grew up watching a lot of TV and I do mean a lot! It’s strange because now, in comparison to my childhood years, I hardly watch TV at all. I put that down the fact that most shows today just aren’t as top quality as the programs I grew up. Yeah, I know – I’ve been accused of being biased many times!

However it’s not just the shows themselves that are memorable – the theme tunes and opening credits of many of this shows have made an impact and are equally unforgettable. So here’s my list of the TV theme tunes that we didn’t just like listening to but we sang along with as well.

1. NEIGHBOURS

Title:Neighbours

Composed By: Tony Hatch

Lyrics: Jackie Trent

Performed by: Barry Crocker

Year: 1985

I don’t care what anyone says – the Neighbours theme tune may have been revamped and jazzed up a million times, but for me, the original theme tune is undoubtedly the best.

Even now I get all nostalgic when I hear it. It reminds me of my childhood years; the early days of the Aussie soap, and a time when Neighbours was extremely addictive. Whether it sounds dated or not is debateable, but I think it has a certain charm and quality that the current one just doesn’t have. Sorry! Barry Crocker’s vocals suit the song perfectly. It makes you want to be good neighbours with your, er, neighbours!

The song was created by the legendary Hatch and Trent. Jackie Trent explained that the soap was originally going to be called Ramsay Street, but it was a little too close to Coronation street, which at the time 9and still is) Britain’s longest running soap. The song Jackie penned with her husband Tony was called Neighbours – which was the name that they eventually settled on for the soap. So the theme really did have a huge impact on the actual soap.

2.HOME AND AWAY

Title: Home And Away

Composed By: Mike Perjanic

Lyrics: Mike Perjanic

Performed by: Mark Williams and Karen Boddington

Year: 1987

Neighbours’ rival Aussie soap also had a fantastic theme song. It was a show about foster families and second chances, and the lyrics of the song fit in perfectly with the show’s concept. I stopped watching Home and Away a long time ago, mainly because it just wasn’t the same without Bobby, Pippa, Fisher and co. What I loved about the original were the vocals of Mark and Karen which were extremely powerful and full of emotion.

3. DIFFERENT STROKES

Title: It takes Diff’rent Strokes

Composed By: Alan Thicke, Gloria Loring and Al Burton

Performed by: Alan Thicke

Year: 1978

This American sit-com was a huge family favourite, and was very popular when I was growing up. It was on television a lot when I was a child but I wasn’;t old enough to fully appreciate it. But I began watching Different Strokes again about a decade a go, and Arnold’s capers had me howling. And I fell in  love with that theme song all over again. Incidentally Alan Thicke, who composed the theme song, is the father of singer Robin Thicke.

What? You don’t like the song?

What you talking about, Willis?

4. ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES

Title: Only Fools And Horses and Hooky Street

Composed By: John Sullivan

Lyrics: John Sullivan

Performed by: John Sullivan

Year: 1982

It’s not just the show that’s iconic – the theme song is too. Well theme songs I should say as the opening and closing credits featured different songs. Only Fools And Horses was used for the opening credits, while Hooky Street was used for the closing.  The Beeb insisted on using a saxophone instrumental by Ronnie Hazelhurst for the credits of the first series. But when it came to the second series, the show’s creator, John Sullivan, put his foot down and told the BBC to use the theme songs he had created. And he was right to do so as both songs totally capture what the show’s about: Cockney wide-boys, wheeling and dealing, the market trade and selling hookey gear. For years I was convinced that it was Nicholas Lyndhurst -aka Rodders – who was singing the show’s theme songs but it wasn’t. Both songs feature the show’s creator, John Sullivan’s vocals. But the two sounded so similar, I was sure that there was a mistake in the credits and it really was Nicholas Lyndhurst.

5. FRIENDS

Title: I’ll Be There For You

Composed By: David Crane, Marta Kauffman, Michael Skloff, Allee Willis, Phil Solem, and David Wild

Performed by: The Rembrandts

Year:

Probably the most famous theme song in the world. It took six people to write this song, and it’s the only hit that The Rembrandts are famous for which seems a little sad, but then that’s their fault for co-creating a song so amazing that it was all the fans wanted to hear. The theme song was just under a minute long but a year later it was released as a three minute pop song. The video for the song features hilarious antics from the Friends cast.

6. GLADIATORS

Composed By: Muff Murfin

Year: 1992

Everyone at school was Gladiators crazy – and this was long before Russell Crowe came along! This contest which tested competitors sporting abilities was massive back in the early ’90s. We didn’t have X-Factor then – this was our Saturday night viewing. And the theme song did just the right job in getting you hyped up.

7. SURPRISE, SURPRISE

Title: Surprise, Surprise (original) and Life Is Full Of Surprises

Composed By:

Lyrics:

Performed by:

Year:

A show hosted by Cilla Black which was all about… surprises! It was a show in which ordinary, unsuspecting people were reunited with long-lost friends or relative, or were rewarded for some kind deed. I remember in one episode, I spotted an acquaintance in the audience as a member of her family was there to be ‘surprised.’ Cilla used to open and close the show by singing the theme songs. There were two theme tunes as I recall. The original one was slower and was written by Kate Robbins.There was a more fast paced one and a much slower one. After series eight, there was a new more up-tempo theme tune. I remember how kids at school used to change the lyrics of the slower theme song:

“Surprise, Surprise… you’ve got tomato ketchup between your eyes…” Oh those were the days!


8. THE GENERATION GAME

Composed By: Ronnie Hazlehurst

Performed by: Bruce Forsythe

Year: 1971-77, 1990-94

Oh how I loved this show! And how I miss it. Back in the early ’90s, Friday nights were Generation Game nights. I never got to watch The Generation Game when it was hosted by Bruce Forsythe and Anthea Redfern, or by Larry Grayson and Isla St. Clair. Bruce Forsythe was at the helm again with Rosemarie Ford when I started watching it. The theme tune as I knew it was a revamped version of the original tune. I know that I liked it, but I’m sure that viewers who watched the show first time around probably preferred the original.  I’ve  heard that it’s making a comeback with Miranda Hart as the host. I just hope that they keep that fantastic theme song.

9. BAYWATCH

Title: I’m Always Here

Composed By: Jimi Jamison, Cory Lerios, John D’Andrea and Joe Henry

Performed by: Jimi Jamison

Year: 1989

I’m sure that this theme is as familiar as the red swim wear that featured on the show. It’s probably up there with the Friends theme as the most easily recognised and well-known – even after all this time. The vocals were by Jimi Jamison of legendary rock outfit, Survivor.  At my friend’s hen party last year, the DJ actually played the Baywatch theme – cue much hilarious beach running antics!

10. THE LITTLEST HOBO

Title: maybe Tomorrow

Composed By: Terry Bush

Lyrics by: John Crossen

Performed by: Terry Bush

Year: 1979

I loved this Canadian show when I was growing up. It was about a dog who travelled from place to place, having adventures, and helping those in need. Great family entertainment. My mate Dave aka Pancake Lady, posted the lyrics from the theme on Facebook recently so I have her to thank for jogging my memory.

 

 

 
 

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A Walk Down Memory Aisle: 25 Top TV Weddings

Soap legends, Scott and Charlene Robinson from Neighbours caused hysteria when their TV wedding was shown on UK screens 25 years ago. For many of us, their wedding will always be the most epic of all TV weddings. However, over the years we’ve been very privileged to have attended numerous weddings where we’ve gasped, laughed and shed a tear along with the rest of the country – or world – and all from the comfort of our living rooms!

So in honour of Scott and Charlene’s 25th wedding anniversary, we take a look at 25 TV weddings that are (almost!) as memorable and which I witnessed during the days when I watched way too much television:

1. SHANE AND ANGEL PARRISH (Home And Away, 1995)

Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (Melissa George) were hailed by the Aussie media as the new Scott and Charlene. I don’t think that any couple could ever be the new Scott and Charlene but they were an awesome soap twosome whose on-off antics had viewers gripped.

However, in the run up to their wedding, Angel was knocked over by Alf Stewart and was unable to walk. But come the big day, Angel was determined that she wasn’t going to be wheeled down the aisle in her wheelchair and insisted on walking towards her groom. She did just that – and viewers were moved.

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2. ROSS AND EMILY GELLER (Friends, 1998)

The words “I Ross, take thee, Rachel,” were the words every Friends’ fan desperately wanted to hear – too bad they were being said to the wrong woman! Nobody wanted to see Ross (David Schwimmer) wed his British sweetheart Emily (Helen Baxendale) as everyone knew that Ross belonged with Rachel (Jennifer Aniston.) And it looked as though fans were going to get their wish as Rachel flew into London to stop the wedding – only to have a change of heart when she saw Ross at the alter and instead wished him well. The wedding went ahead despite Ross calling Emily ‘Rachel’ although naturally the marriage didn’t last – but viewers had to wait until the last ever series of Friends to see Rachel get her man.

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3. KEVIN AND SALLY WEBSTER (Coronation Street, 1986)

They were known as love’s young dream and they were couple who lived happily ever after – until that awful Natalie Horrocks came along and got her claws into Kevin (Michael Le Vell.)

Sally (Sally Dynevor) did away with the tradition of a white wedding gown and I remember her showing Hilda Ogden her peach coloured wedding dress before the wedding and twirling around her living room while Hilda sat there in silence (very unusual for her!) What was most poignant was that the night before the wedding, Sally was stood in the doorway, looking out on to the street with a dreamy expression on her face, claiming that she couldn’t be happier. If she knew then what we all know now…

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4. FRANK MORGAN AND BOBBY SIMPSON (Home And Away, 1989)

Bobby (Nicolle Dickson) loved Frank (Alex Papps) but Frank was besotted with Roo. Frank eventually realised that Roo was not the woman for him and finally fell for Bobby – and Home And Away fans cheered their hearts out – including me! This was without a doubt one of my favourite weddings as I loved Frank and Bobby as a couple. At the time, being so young, I couldn’t understand why Bobby would wear a dress that had black in it; wasn’t full length, or why she didn’t wear a veil. Now I think her look rocks because it’s so unique and doesn’t look dated despite being more than 20 years ago.

Sadly, they’d barely finished the wedding cake before Frank decided that he was in love with Roo after all and the two ran off to New York where they eventually got married – leaving Bobby heartbroken. But fickle Frank proved he had a real inability to make up his mind and returned to Summer Bay to win Bobby back just as she was starting a relationship with single dad Greg Marshall. Bobby, feisty girl that she was, told Frank just where to go. So he did!

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4. BOBBY AND PAMELA EWING (Dallas, 1986)

I never did like Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) getting together with Jenna Wade – even if she was Mrs. Elvis Presley! So naturally I was delighted when he got back together with his ex-wife, Pamela Barnes (Victoria Principal) and they started planning their second wedding. However, just minutes before she was due to walk down the aisle, Pam overheard Bobby’s brother, Ray announce that Jenna was pregnant – with Bobby’s child. Pam was devastated but the couple were rock solid and Pam became Mrs. Ewing for the second time.

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5. CHANDLER BING AND MONICA GELLAR (Friends, 2001)

Once commitment-phobe Chandler (Matthew Perry) realised that Monica (Courtney Cox) was the woman for him, there was no stopping him in rushing to propose – and Monica was only too happy to whip out the wedding file she’d created in her teens! However, on the day of the wedding, it looked as though Chandler had started to have second thoughts and done a runner, and the gang had no choice but to break the news to Monica. One of the most hilarious scenes ever was when Rachel began to tell Monica, “We can’t find Chandler…” before noticing that Phoebe was gesturing to her that all was well and not to say anything before Rachel backtracked by saying, “…Chandler’s vest. We can’t find Chandler’s vest.” Great move Rachel!

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So the bride and groom made it down the aisle; viewers met Chandler’s warring parents; Joey married his best friends while dressed as an army officer and viewers discovered that Rachel was pregnant. But who was the father?

6. RODNEY AND CASSANDRA TROTTER (Only Fools And Horses, 1989)

If ever there was a couple who were chalk and cheese, it was Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Cassandra (Gwyneth Strong) but somehow they worked. The wedding episode was quite touching as it showed the deep bond between the brothers Rodney and Del rather than focusing solely on their comic capers. Who could forget Del taking care off his wounds after taking a violent bashing so that Rodney could get the money to pay for the wedding? Or the tearful look that Rodney exchanged with the brother who raised him just before he and Cassandra departed for their honeymoon. I remember watching this and feeling very sorry for lonely Del. Thank goodness Raquel came along when she did!

The episode thankfully ended on a comic note with Rodney forgetting that he lived with Cassandra and not Del. Amazing episode.

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7. HAROLD AND MADGE BISHOP (Neighbours, 1988)

It had taken more than thirty years for Harold (Ian Smith) to be reunited with his high school sweetheart Madge (Anne Charleston) but even then their journey to the alter had been anything but smooth with rows, break-ups and an engagement ring that found its way to the bottom of Lassiter’s Lake! But then, Madge’s fiery temper was one of the things that Harold loved about her and there was no denying, that despite their differences, this was a couple who belonged together.

Harold’s mini-me son, David, made an appearance for the wedding and Harold shocked everyone by announcing that he wanted a bucks party. However the menfolk of Ramsay Street had to endure the most boring bucks party ever. It was hilarious when Scott suggested that Harold put some music on. “Great idea!” Harold exclaimed. “Er, what’s this?” someone asked. “Mozart,” Harold announced. Cue a great deal of grumbling.

But the wedding was well worth the wait: Henry gave his mum away; Charlene made a beautiful bridesmaid; David thought he had a chance with the stunning Jane Harris, and Madge finally became Mrs. Bishop.

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8. JEFF AND FALLON COLBY (Dynasty, 1986)

Could there ever be a more on-again-off-again couple than Jeff and Fallon? But through it all you just knew they belonged together. And so did they! Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin and later Emma Samms)  ran out on Jeff (John James) before their wedding only to resurface a year later as amnesia sufferer Randall Adams – who had just become his cousin Miles’s new  bride!

A battle for Fallon’s affections began between the two men. Jeff won – and Fallon remarried him.  What I loved about this wedding – apart from Fallon choosing Jeff – was that she did away with tradition by opting for a pink gown thus starting a trend. This was great in the eyes of a little primary school age girl who was obsessed with pink and I was determined to follow Fallon’s lead and get wed in pink when my time came (I didn’t!) Though if Fallon’s wicked stepmother-in-law had had her way, she would have married Jeff wearing a persimmon coloured gown (I didn’t have a clue what colour persimmon was!)

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9. RICKY AND BIANCA BUTCHER (Eastenders, 1997)

Ricky (Sid Owen) had already been married before to Phil and Grant’s little sister Sam but this was Bianca’s (Patsy Palmer) first wedding and she was determined to go all out.

I remember watching this episode with my family and we couldn’t stop laughing. Fearing the wrath of Bianca, there was a mad race to get Ricky to the church on time after the stag party mistakenly thought that they had ended up in France. Bianca couldn’t understand why her wedding car was doing continuous circles around the church but all was well when Ricky finally turned up and made an honest woman of Miss Jackson.

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10. MARK GOTTLIEB AND ANNALISE HARTMAN (Neighbours, 1994)

Despite promises to love, honour and obey, many of the TV marriages listed here didn’t last or at least endured extremely stormy periods. Luckily Mark (Bruce Samazan) and Annalise (Kimberly Davis) decided to quit while they were ahead by calling off the wedding while Annalise was halfway down the aisle. Mark suddenly decided that he wanted to be a man of the cloth and told Annalise that he couldn’t go through with it. Meanwhile Annalise had been having doubts about her impending marriage so was secretly relieved – although she still made Mark feel guilty and played the victim.

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11. IAN AND CINDY BEALE (Eastenders, 1989)

Now here’s a union that makes people wonder “whatever were they thinking?” I remember a friend commenting well before their wedding, “that Cindy’s a little b***h. She’s just using Ian to make that other one jealous.” By ‘that other one’ she meant of course Simon Wicks – Cindy’s one true love and the man who was going to be the catalyst in the demise of Ian and Cindy’s marriage. I’m sure it was obvious to viewers at the time that Cindy didn’t love Ian but I wasn’t old enough to see the signs! Unfortunately it was Cindy who turned Ian from Mr. Super-Nice to a cross between Mr. Nasty and Mr. Pillock.

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12.JOE MANGEL AND KERRY BISHOP (Neighbours, 1990)

Again, another chalk and cheese couple who were made for each other. Their romance had many ups and downs but what was really sweet was the way in which they accepted each other’s children and blended their families so seamlessly. Kerry (Linda Hartley) ever-the-non-conformist wanted her wedding to have a slightly Indian vibe and take place in a butterfly house. One funny moment was when the celebrant asked if anyone had any objections and Harold had had his hand raised. It turned out he was just trying to shoo away a butterfly that had landed on his head!

Their’s was supposed to have been a double wedding as they should have gotten married alongside their friends Henry Ramsay and Bronwyn Davies. However, Bronwyn’s father wasn’t convinced that Henry was the right man for his daughter and put pressure on her to postpone. Bronwyn gave in, devastating Henry in the process. He then became Joe’s (Mark Little) best man and kept giving Bronwyn heartbroken glances throughout the service.

Just as Scott and Charlene had their song during the service, Joe and Kerry had Lynn Hamilton’s In Your Arms which was just as beautiful as Angry Anderson’s Suddenly. The song lyrics combined with Joe and Kerry’s joy as well as Henry and Bronwyn’s pain made this a very poignant episode.

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13. FRANK AND PAT BUTCHER (Eastenders, 1989)

Frank (Mike Reid) and Pat (Pam St. Clement) had loved each other over a thirty year period but life, marriages to other people and children had kept them apart for many years – until Frank’s wife June passed away and he was free to be with the woman he truly loved. They got married and celebrated with a huge street party in typical East End style. Sadly the marriage wasn’t to last but one thing that did was their love for each other. Pat and Frank’s is a sad but true love story.

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14. HUGO AND ALICE HORTON (The Vicar of Dibley, 1998)

Alice Tinker may not be every man’s dream woman but Hugo Horton was besotted with the verger – much to the disdain of his father, David Horton who couldn’t stand the dim (though sweet) Alice. However, Hugo finally stood up to his father and defended his true love and the couple went on to marry. Alice wed Hugo in a what-is-she-wearing dress that was so typical of her. Who could forget that switch-it-on-and-watch-it-light-up headdress?

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15. DES AND DAPHNE CLARKE (Neighbours, 1986)

There aren’t many men who’d want to marry the stripper at a buck’s party. There aren’t many women who’d want to marry the man for whom they were hired to strip. But amidst the most unlikeliest of starts, Des and Daphne fell in love. In true soap style, there were hiccups along the way to the alter, especially Daphne’s later engagement to Shane Ramsay. However, Daphne realised that her heart belonged to Des and went on to marry him. Des and Daphne’s is usually considered by many to be the first Neighbours’ wedding but it isn’t – Paul Robinson beat them to it when he married his first wife, Terri.

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16. PRINCE MICHAEL OF MOLDOVIA AND AMANDA CARRINGTON (Dynasty, 1985)

What is it with those Carrington girls? Can’t they have a simple family wedding without all the drama? Blake Carrington’s younger daughter, Amanda (Catherine Oxenberg) proved that anything her older sister Fallon could do, she could do one step better. Not only did she bag herself a prince (Michael Praed) but her wedding provided one of the biggest soap cliff-hangers of all time. While the wedding was underway, a group of terrorists stormed the chapel and opened fire. It appeared that everyone had been gunned down although viewers had to wait for the new season to find out who had been killed.

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17. JOHN WORTHINGTON AND NELL MANGEL (Neighbours, 1988)

“What’s a nice man like John Worthington doing with Nell Mangel?” asked Madge Bishop.

Indeed viewers were asking the same question. Who on earth could love an interfering, malicious, gossipy busybody like Mrs. Mangel? But it appeared that nice Mr. Worthington decided to take a chance on Mrs. Mangel – even after that hilarious incident where a face-pack wearing Mrs. Mangel answered the door to her date John and pretended to be Nell’s twin sister Belle! However, John saw through the lie and still thought that Nell Mangle was worth taking a chance on.

Their marriage marked the couple’s departure from the show as they went to live in England. And in a move that surprised the neighbours – and viewers – Madge and Nell kissed and made up just before the Worthingtons headed off to the airport.

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18. IAN AND MELANIE HEALEY, BARRY AND NATALIE EVANS (Eastenders, 1999)

As the whole world eagerly awaited the new millennium, Eastenders decided to celebrate with a double wedding. However, Melanie Healey (Tamzin Outhwaite) wasn’t in the mood to celebrate as what viewers already knew suddenly began to dawn on her – she had no idea what she was doing with Ian Beale! Unfortunately, Ian (Adam Woodyatt) had already cottoned on to the fact that Mel was getting cold feet, so in a bid to make her go through with the wedding, he lied and said that his daughter was suffering from cancer. A low move even for him!

But after the wedding, fellow new bride Natalie (Lucy Speed) accidentally let the cat out of the bag and revealed that Lucy was in perfect health. After a furious bust-up with Ian, Mel walked out on him in what must have been the shortest marriage in soap.

But Natalie and Barry didn’t fare so well either as they also went their separate ways a few years later after the birth of their son Jack. Clearly not a lucky wedding date!

 

19. JOE AND MELANIE MANGEL (Neighbours, 1991)

Neighbours fans were saddened when pregnant Kerry Bishop was killed by a stray bullet leaving Joe a distraught widower. So they rejoiced when Joe (Mark Little)  found happiness with his wacky lodger Melanie Pearson (Lucinda Cowden) who was Erinsborough’s answer to Alice Tinker.

There was a slight hitch when the happy couple fell out after Joe discovered that Melanie had once had a fling with her boss, Paul Robinson. However he soon got over it and the wedding was back on track. And although Joe feared the worst regarding Melanie’s wedding gown, the bride stunned everyone by walking down the aisle in a beautiful, traditional, champagne-coloured gown.

 

20. BEN AND MEG EVANS, MICHAEL AND VANESSA BOURNE (Sunset Beach, 1999)

It may have been a short lived soap but it made a big impact. When this Channel 5 soap finally ended, it went out on a high and featured a double wedding for two couples who viewers couldn’t wait to see make it to the alter.

Although this was Michael and Vanessa’s (Sherrie Saum) first wedding, it was the second time for Ben (Clive Roberts) and Meg (Susan Ward) as their first was interrupted by the appearance of Ben’s first wife, Maria. This time everything went without a hitch – except fans were upset that their favourite wacky soap was no more.

 

 

21. STEPHEN AND PHOEBE GOTTLIEB (Neighbours, 1993)

Phoebe (Simone Robertson) was heartbroken when her beloved boyfriend Todd was killed in a road accident – just as she was expecting their baby. But Todd played an unlikely matchmaker as Phoebe met the man she was going to marry while visiting Todd’s grave. Stephen (Lochie Daddo) and Phoebe fell in love and got married just before baby Hope arrived.

 

22. ALEX AND SUE TATHAM (Blind Date, 1991)

Many years may have passed, and I may only have been a child at the time but I remember this couple so well! For everyone who thought that Blind Date was a fix, Alex and Sue Tatham proved everyone wrong by being the first Blind Date contestants to marry after meeting on the show. Before them, Blind Date did not have any real success stories so naturally the show’s host Cilla Black and the rest of the show’s crew would have been delighted with the result. After Alex and Sue, another two couples went on to marry. Sue and Alex’s wedding was watched as part of a Blind Date special by more than 17 million viewers, with the couple being slightly upstaged by Cilla’s famous hat!

And for those who thought that the marriage would never last, the Tathams are still together, have two children and celebrated their silver wedding anniversary this year.

 

23. BRAD AND BETH WILLIS (Neighbours, 1993)

It took two attempts for Brad (Scott Michaelson) and Beth (Natalie Imbruglia) to make it to the alter and they were successfully wed after their second attempt! Wedding number one ended in disaster after Beth suspected Brad of fooling around with bridesmaid Lauren behind her back. She was right and walked out halfway through the ceremony. And despite Brad continuing his relationship with Lauren, Beth wasn’t about to give up on him so easily and fought to win back Brad. She succeeded and the happy couple left Ramsay Street after their wedding to start a new life away from Erinsborough.

 

24. GRANT AND SHARON MITCHELL (Eastenders, 1991)

Who would have thought that Walford’s hard man could be such a softie? Grant (Ross Kemp) had planned their wedding in secret even doing the unforgivable and choosing Sharon’s (Letitia Dean) wedding outfit! Sharon was furious and promptly refused to go through with the wedding – until best friend Michelle Fowler talked her around. So before you could say ‘Sharongate’ the happy couple were wed and Sharon was destined to hear the infamous ‘you’re a Mitchell’ line until she ditched Grant for a new life in America.

 

25. PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA (1981)

OK, this televised wedding was not part of a scriptwriter’s plot but Charles and Di’s story had more ups and down, ins and outs, twists and turns than your average soap opera. Believe it or not, their wedding is one of my earliest memories. Although it was billed as a fairy-tale, the marriage sadly did not last but their wedding is without a doubt one of the most famous and still talked about weddings of the royal family.

 

 

 
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