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Bidders at auction go ‘crazy’ for Friends scripts rescued from the bin

Two original scripts from American sitcom Friends, which had been found in a bin, sold for a mind-blowing price when they went up for auction.

Royston-based saleroom Hanson Ross was shocked by the “phenomenal global interest” in the scripts for The One With Ross’s Wedding Part I and Part II.

Amanda Butler from Hanson Ross with the Friends scripts. Picture: Hanson Ross
Amanda Butler from Hanson Ross with the Friends scripts. Picture: Hanson Ross

They should have been destroyed straight after filming in 1998. However, they were found by chance at London’s Fountain Studios, Wembley, by a former staff member – and ended up in her bedside drawer for more than 20 years.

The scripts went to auction with an estimate of £600-£800. However, that price was swiftly eclipsed multiple times thanks to 219 advance bids from all over the world, including the UK, USA, Germany, Spain, Australia, Ukraine, Dubai and Switzerland.

The hammer finally fell at £22,000, sparking applause in the saleroom. The total price paid by an online international bidder was £28,864.

Amanda Butler, head of operations at Hanson Ross, said: “I just can’t believe the result and the impact this find has had.

“Bidders went crazy for these scripts, the global interest was phenomenal. I was inundated with interview requests and stories appeared on multiple news networks included CNN, Fox, BBC and ITV.

“We’ve all been flabbergasted – including the seller. She came to the saleroom to watch the drama unfold and she was shell-shocked!

“She brought the scripts along to our saleroom for valuation. I’m a huge Friends fan so I was really excited to see them.

“They take fans back to 1998 when Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Rachel travelled to England to see Ross (David Schwimmer) marry his fiancée Emily (Helen Baxendale) in London.

“They were found at a TV studio which is no longer there. Apparently, the cast and crew were ordered to destroy their copies so the ending wouldn’t be leaked.

“However, these two slipped through the net. The interest – and result – underlines the fact that Friends is one of the biggest TV shows of all time. The final show aired 20 years ago in 2004 but millions still watch it and love it.”

The seller, a 60-year-old retired Londoner, said: “I used to work in admin support at Fountain Studios. I never saw any of the Friends cast but I remember it was madly busy.

“There was a real buzz about the place and I did my best to help. They needed a studio audience and I helped to distribute tickets to people who won a London radio station competition to watch Friends being filmed.

“Only recently I discovered a ticket inside one of the scripts. I found them in a bin a couple of week’s after filming had finished.

“It was part of my job to ensure everything was tidy and no rubbish was left around. I wasn’t sure what to do with them so just put them in my office drawer. I remember wondering which member of the cast they might have belonged to.

“I left Fountain Studios in 1999 and when I came to clear my desk I just swept everything into a big cardboard box. I forget the scripts were there.

“They were mixed up in a pile of paperwork. It wasn’t until I checked through the box a few months later that I found them. They ended up in a bedside drawer and they’ve been there ever since.

“I could have quite easily have thrown them out. Recently I’ve been clearing my house ahead of a move and I came across them again.

“Funnily enough, I’m not a big Friends fan. I don’t dislike the show but I only recently watched the episodes I have the scripts for. They deserved to go to a big Friends fan so this is a perfect ending.”

Friends, created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, was on from 1994 to 2004 and lasted for 10 series. It has rarely been off TV screens since.

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, it is one of the most popular TV shows of all time.

The series finale, which aired on 6 May, 2004, was watched by 52.5 million American viewers. The series was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards and won the Outstanding Comedy Series award in 2002 for its eighth season. The show is ranked number 21 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.

Hanson Ross has since been inundated with people saying they have scripts for other TV series.

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