Emma Willis struggled to hold back her tears as she opened the final episode of Big Brother.
The presenter, who has hosted the reality TV programme since 2013, promised the “mother of all send-offs”.
Monday night’s show started with a montage of some of the highlights and best-known housemates since the programme began in 2000, including first winner Craig Philips and the late Jade Goody.
Addressing the crowd, an emotional-looking Willis said: “Big Brother entered our lives in the year 2000 before iPods, smartphones, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
“It brought real people from all walks of life into our homes every single night and created a whole new genre of TV that changed popular culture forever.”
Cameron Cole won the final series of the ground-breaking show, beating Akeem Griffiths.
Earlier Willis posted a photograph on Instagram of the script for the finale, saying: “Goodbye my friend…”
The show started in 2000 on Channel 4 but Channel 5 took over in 2011.
Ratings have declined over the years and in September this year it was announced that the 19th series would be the last.
Former host Davina McCall also commented ahead of the finale.
The presenter, 51, who hosted 11 series of the show between 2000 and 2010, posted a video on Twitter from Manchester where she is filming Channel 4 game show The £100K Drop.
She said: “I really wanted to come by and say hello but I just wanted to say good luck Emma. You are amazing and brilliant. Good luck Rylan. I know it’s going to be very emotional. I hope you have a great night.
“Good luck to all the crew who work so hard on the show. I know it is going to be hard tonight but I’m sending you so much love.”
The final of the first series broadcast on Channel 4 in 2000 attracted 9.45 million viewers but the last episode of the most recent series, broadcast by Channel 5 in 2017, was watched by just 1.11 million.