| Sarah Jessica Parker
London, Nov. 2: What, as Carrie Bradshaw might have asked in one of her trademark rhetorical asides, is the best way to end one of television's great romances. Is 'happy-ever-after' really too much to ask for'
Fans of the hit series Sex and the City yesterday discovered how close they came to being denied the feel-good ending they longed for after details of the three alternative denouements filmed for the final episode became public.
In one, Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, is dumped once and for all by her on-again, off-again lover Mr Big, while in another she announces her engagement to her moody Russian boyfriend Aleksandr Petrovsky (Mikhail Baryshnikov).
In the event, fans were relieved to see Mr Big (Chris Noth) travel to Paris to pledge his love to Bradshaw ' their belated commitment revealed by the fact that we finally discovered his real name, John.
But the upbeat climax was one of four recorded by the producers to prevent the ending being leaked to the press. The three alternatives each take place in a coffee shop, according to the New York Post, which has seen the tapes.
In one, Carrie tells her friends that Mr Big went to Paris to meet her but decided that he could not make the lifetime commitment she wanted and split up with her for good.
In another, Carrie tells her girlfriends ' Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Samantha (Kim Cattrall) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) ' that she is to marry Petrovsky.
The third is similar to what really happened. Carrie described how Mr Big would move back to New York to be with her.
The stars and most of the production team of the award-winning show were kept in the dark as to which ending would be aired. The three that were never screened are labelled Final Coffee Shop Version, A, B and C.