Saved by the Bell may have started out as a reboot of short-lived teen sitcom Good Morning, Miss Bliss, but it soon took on a life of its own. Originally on screens from 1989 to 1993, the show followed a group of friends as they navigated the treacherous path of high school, and it proved a massive popular sensation.

Yet as popular as Saved By the Bell was with younger viewers, things were often a whole lot less family-friendly behind the scenes, as the following facts demonstrate…

10. Dustin Diamond claimed the show was “full of sex and drugs” (but later admitted exaggerating)

The late Dustin Diamond appeared on Saved by the Bell as Samuel Powers, better known by his nickname ‘Screech’. In 2009, Diamond published a book called Behind the Bell, which upset his fellow Saved by the Bell actors by claiming that filming of the show was full of “sex, drugs and wild parties.”

Diamond later came forward to claim that there was little truth to a lot of these claims, instead saying that the book’s ghostwriter had made a lot of them up and that he had no idea what the book would contain until it was published.

9. The cast were not paid well

Considering what a massive success Saved by the Bell proved to be, you might expect that the cast members would have been rewarded appropriately when it came to their pay packets. Unfortunately, that wasn’t actually the case.

Because Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who played Zack Morris, once stated, “it was a Saturday morning show. It was the first of its kind. We didn’t get paid d**k for it.”

8. Elizabeth Berkley went on to bare all in Showgirls

As well as playing Jessie Spano in Saved by the Bell, Elizabeth Berkley is also very well known for baring all on the silver screen. After the show ended, Berkley took the lead role of Nomi Malone in director Paul Verhoeven’s 1995 film Showgirls, which required the actress to spend the majority of her screen time either partially or totally naked.

Showgirls was a critical and commercial disaster, and for a time Berkley’s career seemed to be over – until she surprised everyone by successfully relaunching herself as a serious stage actress.

7. Berkley also once dressed in nothing but lettuce leaves

Berkley may have struggled to shake off her sexpot image after Showgirls, but she remained willing to flaunt her sexuality in the name of her beliefs. In 2008, she appeared in an ad campaign for animal rights group PETA, dressed only in figure-hugging lettuce leaves.

A keen animal lover, Berkley participated in the campaign to try and encourage people to try a meat-free diet: the ad’s slogan read, ‘Let vegetarianism grow on you.’

6. Dustin Diamond made his own sex tape

After Saved by the Bell ended, Dustin Diamond began a career in stand up comedy. He has also been seen on a number of reality and game shows, as well as being involved with Memphis Championship Wrestling and going on to be a wrestling referee, manager and even a tag team partner.

Most notoriously, Diamond also directed and released his own sex tape, which was commercially released under the title Screeched: Saved by the Smell. Diamond later denied that it was actually him on the video, instead claiming that his ‘part’ had been played by a stunt double.

5. Diamond also served time in prison before dying of cancer

Credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

Sadly, Dustin Diamond’s life proved short and filled with troubles. In 2014 he was arrested for possession of a knife, which he was alleged to have used in a threatening manner during a fight in a bar in which a man was actually stabbed. This led to him being sentenced to four months in prison, for which he served three and was released on probation. However, he then went onto violate the terms of his probation, leading to him being arrested again in 2016.

Things took an even more tragic turn in late 2020, when it was announced that Diamond was suffering from advanced cancer. The actor sadly passed away from the disease in February 2021.

4. Mario Lopez was accused of rape

In 1993, whilst the show was still on the air, an 18 year old woman accused A.C. Slater actor Mario Lopez of raping her. Another woman also then came forward claiming that she had also been raped by Lopez.

However, no evidence was found to support either of the woman’s claims, so no charges were brought against Lopez.

3. Mark-Paul Gosselaar claims he slept with all his female co-stars on the show

Shockingly, Mark-Paul Gosselaar revealed in 2009 that whilst the show was being filmed, he bedded all three of his female co-stars Lark Voorhies, Tiffani Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley (all at different times of course).

The actor once said that “all of us dated at one point or another, it was incestuous!”

2. Mark-Paul Gosselaar is not a natural blonde

Credit: JC Olivera/Getty Images

You may not have realised this, but Mark-Paul Gosselaar actually has brown hair, meaning that he had to bleach his hair blonde every two weeks whilst the show was being filmed.

He was once quoted as saying that “getting back to my natural color took a while! I haven’t dyed my hair since 1997!”

1. There was an unauthorised movie about the making of the show

After the success of Dustin Diamond’s book Behind the Bell (regardless of how much of it was true), a Lifetime TV movie was produced about the making of the show. It was entitled The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story, and as the title reflects it was done without the blessing of the show’s original cast and crew – except Diamond, who served as executive producer.

The 2014 TV movie was met with an almost unanimously negative reception from critics and audiences, including fans of the original sitcom.