Friends reunion
Friends cast members (L to R) Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston reunited for the first time in 12 yearsYouTube/NBC

It may be 12 years since they last appeared together on-screen, but the cast of Friends still have that special chemistry. In a preview of an upcoming NBC special, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow can be seen hanging out together for the first time since the acclaimed sitcom came to an end in 2004.

Although a far cry from their characters' favourite hangout Central Perk, the five stars can seen sitting together in a teaser clip of NBC's tribute to director James Burrows, who directed several episodes of the comedy series. Nostalgic fans can take a trip down memory lane when watching the gang share banter as host Andy Cohen asks the awkward question: "Did you all sign contracts saying that you wouldn't sleep with each other?"

An uncomfortable Kudrow then turned to her former co-star Schwimmer, who played Ross Gellar, and said: "David, say something!" Missing from the reunion was Chandler Bing actor Matthew Perry, who at the time of filming was in London appearing on stage in The End Of Longing.

Addressing his co-star's absence from the special, Schwimmer told reporters at the Television Critics Association: "In no way is it a Friends reunion when one member is out of the country. I'm sure Matthew Perry would be there if he could, but he's working in London. Maybe one day there will be [a reunion], but this will not be it."

In addition to his work on Friends, Burrows has worked on a range of well-loved sitcoms over the years, including Will & Grace, Cheers, Two And A Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. Praising the director's career achievements, Schwimmer said: "It's a tribute to Jimmy Burrows, who we love, and I'm just thrilled to be a part of it. As many of us that can be there will be there, and the casts of so many shows are going to try to be there: Frasier, Cheers, Will and Grace – it goes on. This man is an incredible director who helped define situation comedy in this country in the last 40 years, so I love him and I'm excited to be there."

Also appearing in the tribute to Burrows are Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell, The Big Bang Theory cast, including Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki, and Will & Grace's Megan Mullally and Eric McCormack. The special is set to air on NBC in the US on 21 February.

Watch a preview of the NBC special: