Friends reunion
NBC is having a special two-hour Friends reunion episode on 21 February NBC/ Warner Bros

The Friends reunion is finally happening. After almost 12 years, fan-favourite characters Monica, Rachel, Joey, Ross and Pheobe will return for a special two-hour Friends reunion episode on 21 February at NBC. However, Matthew Perry's Chandler will not feature in person in the episode.

Matthew Perry's representative Lisa Kasteler said in a statement, "Matthew will not be attending as he is in London in rehearsals for his play, The End of Longing, which begins previews on Feb. 2 at the playhouse Theatre. NBC executives were aware of this prior to their TCA announcement yesterday."

But fans will see Perry's character be a part of the reunion episode in some capacity. "Matthew may tape something for the tribute. In other words, this is not the reunion people have been hoping for," read the statement.

Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer are on board for the two-hour episode. The special will be a tribute to Friends' legendary comedy director James Burrows, who recently helmed his 1,000th TV episode.

Actors Matt LeBlanc also spoke on why Joey and Phoebe never hooked up on Friends. LeBlanc told People: "Towards the end we actually pitched the idea that Joey and Phoebe had been having casual sex the entire time. We'd go back and shoot all the historical scenes and just before a moment that everyone recognizes, there's Joey and Phoebe coming out of a broom closet together. But they were like, 'Nah.'"

Actor Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc also reminisced on their favourite memories in the show's 10-year successful run from 1994-2004. LeBlanc said, "It feels like so long ago. But what sticks out in my mind was sometimes we couldn't get though a scene without laughing. It's the gag reel stuff. Remember that time you had to say ..."

Kudrow added, ""At Monica's you can eat cookies over the sink!" Yes, I couldn't say it! I thought I was getting annoying."