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The One Where British Game Show Contestants Share Names With Friends Actors (And Why It Makes Total Sense)

Bradley Walsh hosts the British game show The Chase.
(Image credit: ITV)

Friends, the iconic NBC sitcom that premiered in 1994 and ran for 10 seasons, became a phenomenon around the world that continues today. Fans are still buying the merch and quoting the lines and arguing over whether or not Ross and Rachel were on a break. So it didn’t get past viewers when the contestants on the British version of The Chase all shared names with the actors who portrayed our famous coffee-drinking New Yorkers. The reason why, however, actually makes total sense.

On the British version of The Chase, which was adapted in the U.S. in 2013 for four seasons on the Game Show Network before being revived on ABC in 2021, four strangers form a team to compete against a professional quiz master. The Sun reports that showrunners have been known to give the team members names that connect them somehow. Eagle-eyed fans were quick to spot the pattern on the January 3 episode, which featured Matt, Jennifer, Courtney and David:

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Although viewers likely know by now to watch out for the fun connections, it’s still pretty impressive that Friends fans were able to pick this one out, since the first names of Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and David Schwimmer are pretty common. The Chase also used the more traditional spelling of “Courtney,” which could have further thrown a die-hard Friends fan.

It’s also not the first time The Chase paid homage to the sitcom, which honored its loyal British fanbase in Season 4. In 1998, the production traveled to London to film the two-part finale, “The One with Ross’ Wedding,” in which Ross famously said Rachel’s name during his wedding vows instead of wife-to-be Emily. In 2017, The Chase featured an episode of the game show with a team of contestants named Rachael, Ross, Phoebe and Joey. Perhaps Monica and Chandler were off having some private time, as London was where their relationship started, after all.

Other famous connections on the British game show include a nod to the royal grandchildren, as a September 2021 episode featured Archie, Louis, Charlotte and George. In November, the show honored some legendary singers with the team of Prince, Tina, Elvis and Adele. The Chase got creative in December 2020, when it created a team of Ginger, Roger, Fred and Alistair, clearly a shoutout to the dancing Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. 

The American version of The Chase — which features teams of three rather than four — doesn’t seem to have followed suit on its creative team-naming tactics, which is kind of a shame. I do see, though, how it’s a little strange to change the name of your contestants for the sake of an Easter egg. If you want to catch The Chase on this side of the pond, the Season 2 winter premiere starts at 10 p.m. ET Wednesday, January 5, on ABC. Check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see what else is coming back this month.

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.