Friends director James Burrows has reflected on his time working with the cast, describing Helen Baxendale as ‘nice but not funny’.
The actress briefly starred as Ross Geller’s love interest, Emily Waltham, making her debut in season four, in 1998.
They went on to tie the knot – after the groom (David Schwimmer) famously said Rachel Green’s name at the altar – but it wasn’t to last and they got a divorce in season five.
Although the 53-year-old was only in 14 episodes overall, she made an impression on the director, who shared his struggles in the pages of his recent memoir, Directed by James Burrows.
‘She was nice but not particularly funny. Schwimmer had no one to bounce off. It was like clapping with one hand,’ he penned, via the Washington Post.
In a further passage obtained by DailyMail.com, James spoke of how hard it was to recast roles for the program due to tight deadlines.
‘In sitcoms and any type of romantic comedy, the funny is just as important as the chemistry. We discovered that any new girlfriend for Ross needed to be as funny as Rachel,’ he said.
‘Often, you can’t recast, because of tight shooting deadlines or other logistical considerations. You don’t cast anyone to be a straw man, unless it’s for one episode.
‘You need someone who gets laughs. Sometimes you start an arc and it ain’t working out, so you have to get rid of that person. If it’s a day player, it’s a quick goodbye.
‘The reverse is also true. If there’s chemistry, the writers go to work to figure out some way of keeping the actor.’
However, there was one aspect of the show he was vocally not a fan of – Marcel the monkey.
Ross introduced his pals to his exotic pet in the first season, with the animal causing chaos in his apartment.
He eventually had to let Marcel go and gave him away to the San Diego Zoo, before the creature went on to become a huge movie star in his own right.
While the paleontologist was devastated to say goodbye to his furry friend, James was delighted.
‘I told everyone who would listen, “When I come back to direct another episode, please, no monkey,”’ the Washington Post reports he added.
Metro.co.uk has contacted Helen’s reps for a comment.
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