Sometimes, one of the most memorable things about a film or tv show isn’t the actors. It isn’t the dialogue. It isn’t the scenery. It’s the props or sets that are instantly associated with the production.
Cast Away? Wilson the basketball obviously. Game of Thrones? The Iron Throne. A tatty 1970s vomit green striped reclining armchair? Frasier. And so the list goes on; from Hilda Ogden’s ‘muriel’ to Indiana Jones’ fedora and bullwhip, there are many occasions when a single image devoid of people or places will instantly transport you back to…well, the future (DeLorean car of course).
So imagine my delight when I got the chance to tour the sets of Friends during a recent visit to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. So delighted that – wait for it – I couldn’t be any more delighted (sorry about that, I couldn't resist).
I loved it. From recreating the title sequence by twirling umbrellas on the iconic sofa, to ordering a coffee in Central Perk, I was transported back to 90s heaven. I got to play fussball in Chandler’s apartment, sit on the ugly reclining chairs, and stroke the hideous white dog statue so beloved of Joey.
But the best was saved to last. Monica’s apartment was the last stop on the tour and I was beside myself with excitement. Was it because I wanted to potter in Monica’s kitchen? Or sit in the bay window and imagine staring at Ugly Naked Guy? Of course not. It was to see this:
The one image that will be forever Friends to me. A simple idea, we were told that originally it was a mirror, but after it was broken before recording the first episode the set designer decided to hang it on the back of the door instead. An absolutely genius idea.
Sadly, before you could sing a chorus of ‘Smelly Cat’ the tour was over and it was time to return to 2017. Or perhaps not – after all, Blenheim Palace was used for a 1990s episode of Inspector Morse…..