Bidders went “crazy” for long-lost scripts of the popular American sitcom Friends, which were found in a bin.

Two Friends scripts, for parts one and two of The One With Ross’s Wedding, were discovered at the former Fountain Studios in Wembley Park, which closed in 2016.

They were found in 1998 by a former staff member at the studio, shortly after the two episodes were filmed in front of a live audience.

Once they came into the hands of auctioneers Hanson Ross, it was estimated that the rare scripts would fetch £600 to £800 – but little did they expect that the show would still have as strong as a fanbase as it did when it ended 20 years ago in 2004.

During an auction on January 12, an online international bidder paid £28,864.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Two Friends scripts and a ticket was found Two Friends scripts and a ticket was found (Image: Hanson Ross)

There were 219 advance bids from all over the world, including Germany, Spain, Australia, Ukraine, Dubai and Switzerland.

Amanda Butler, head of operations at Hanson Ross, Royston, Hertfordshire, said: “I just can’t believe the result and the impact this find has had.

“Bidders went crazy for these scripts. The global interest was phenomenal. I was inundated with interview requests and stories appeared on multiple news networks included CNN, Fox, BBC and ITV.

“We’ve all been flabbergasted - including the seller. She came to the saleroom to watch the drama unfold and she was shell-shocked!

“She bought the scripts along to our saleroom for valuation. I’m a huge Friends fan so I was really excited to see them. They take fans back to 1998 when Ross, Monica, Joey, Chandler and Rachel travelled to England to see Ross (David Schwimmer) marry his fiancée Emily (Helen Baxendale) in London.

“They were found at a TV studio that is no longer there. Apparently, the cast and crew were ordered to destroy their copies so the ending wouldn’t be leaked. However, these two slipped through the net.

“The interest - and result - underlines the fact that Friends is one of the biggest TV shows of all time. The final show aired 20 years ago in 2004 but millions still watch it and love it.”

Brent & Kilburn Times: One of the Friends scriptsOne of the Friends scripts (Image: Hanson Ross)

The seller, a 60-year-old retired London woman, said: “I am gobsmacked. I went to the auction with my husband and we just sat there and looked at each other. We couldn’t believe what was happening. I was speechless. It still feels unreal.

“I used to work in admin support at Fountain Studios. I never saw any of the Friends cast but I remember it was madly busy. There was a real buzz about the place and I did my best to help. They needed a studio audience and I helped to distribute tickets to people who won a London radio station competition to watch Friends being filmed. Only recently, I discovered a ticket inside one of the scripts.”

The two-part fourth series finale told the story of the wedding of Ross Gellar (David Schwimmer) to his fiancé Emily (Helen Baxendale) in London. It ended on a jaw-dropping cliff-hanger when Ross mistakenly said “I, Ross, take thee Rachel”, rather than Emily.