Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother are coming to an end, 18 years after the show first launched, Channel 5 has announced.
The reality show’s official Twitter account shared the news and said that the 19th series, which begins on Friday night, would be the last.
“It’s time for this game to end,” the tweet read.
Big Brother premiered on Channel 4 in 2000 and immediately became a ratings hit – though viewing figures have dwindled in recent years.
It took its name from the character in George Orwell’s 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and was initially presented by Davina McCall, moving to Channel 5 in 2010.
The first series of the show gained widespread attention due to the antics of Craig Phillips and Nick Bateman – dubbed “Nasty Nick” – and peaked with an audience of 9.5 million.
Other memorable characters have included Nikki Grahame, best known for her tantrums, and Jade Goody, who starred on both Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother before her death in 2009.
Last year’s series finale had just 1.1 million viewers.
“The forthcoming series of Big Brother will be the last – of either celebrity or civilian versions – on Channel 5,” a statement from the channel said.
One fan said it was the “end of an era”, while another tweeted they were “sad to see it’s ending”.
“We’d like to thank Endemol and all of the production team who have worked tirelessly to make the show a success,” Channel 5 added.
Sad about the Big Brother news. Means that I’ll have to make the effort to go to an eviction or be in the audience of BOTS one last time now 😬
— Robbie 😋 (@ROBBIEwatson) September 14, 2018
Production company Endemol later released a statement saying it was “disappointed not to reach an agreement with Channel 5” over the future of Big Brother.
It hinted that it might not be the end of the show completely, adding “the decision opens up a new chapter and we are excited about future possibilities for Big Brother in the UK”.
The most recent versions of Big Brother have been hosted by Emma Willis and narrated by Marcus Bentley.
Former X Factor star Rylan Clark-Neal presents the spin-off show Bit on the Side.
“We’d also like to thank our brilliant presenters – Emma on Big Brother and Rylan from Bit on the Side – for their consummate professionalism, Marcus, the voice of Big Brother and all of the housemates who have created so many memorable moments,” the statement continued.