Friends TV sitcom
Friends was recently back in the news after joining Netflix UK. Warner Bros TV

UK TV fans have finally given their official verdict on whether Ross and Rachel really were on a break, the most contentious question from the popular show Friends.

The show's perennial "will-they-won't-they" couple got together in season two but broke up in season three after almost a year together, when Ross became jealous of Rachel spending time with her coworker. Ross immediately went out and slept with someone else, devastating Rachel when she found out shortly after they got back together. From then on, Ross' cry of "we were on a break!" every time Rachel brought up the offending incident became a classic Friends line, still quoted today.

Friends was back in the headlines in January as all 10 series appeared on Netflix UK for the first time. To celebrate, YouGov conducted a survey of 892 Friends fans to find out, once and for all, whether we think Ross and Rachel really were on a break when he had sex with "the hot girl from the copy place", Chloe.

Luckily for Ross, 61% of people were on his side, saying the couple were on a break. 19% said the pair were not on a break, and 20% said they did not know.

That does not get Ross completely off the hook for his bad behaviour, however. YouGov also asked whether it is acceptable for an unmarried couple to have sex with anyone else while they are on a break from their relationship. In a poll of 2,080 adults the result was more evenly split, with 41% saying it would be acceptable and 37% saying it was unacceptable. Just 36% of women said it would be okay to have sex with someone else in that situation, compared to 46% of men, matching up with the gender divides in the argument.

The poll also found that Ross was the second least favourite Friend, with just his sister Monica coming below him (just 6% and 5% of participants said the characters were their favourite, respectively). Chandler came out on top, followed by Joey, Phoebe and Rachel (20%, 17%, 15% and 13% of the vote respectively).