CHANNEL 5 has confirmed Big Brother and it's celebrity version is being axed at the end of the current series.

Big Brother's Twitter account also shared the news that the 19th series, launching on Friday night, would be the final one.

"It's time for this game to end," the tweet read.

The broadcaster also confirmed the 22nd Celebrity Big Brother won by former Coronation Street actor Ryan Thomas last week was the last.

HeraldScotland: Celebrity Big Brother winner Ryan Thomas

But Endemol which produces the show tantalisingly indicated that it may not all be over.  And the current host Emma Willis was also hopeful.

Endemol said it was "disappointed not to reach an agreement with Channel 5" over the future of the show.

The production company gave a massive hint that it might not be the end of the show, which is also shown on MTV,  entirely as they added "the decision opens up a new chapter and we are excited about future possibilities for Big Brother in the UK".

Ms Willis said: "Normally it's yay it's the launch. But the excitement comes with really a lot of sadness as we all found out today that Big Brother is no more on Channel 5.

I feel like I have been through this process before, well I have, because I worked on the last year on Channel 4, and we buried it.

HeraldScotland:

"And then the next thing we know was, oh wow, it's coming back.

"The news was a shock, but I kind of still hold out hope that someone out there loves it as we all do still and will give it a home in the future because it has been on the TV for a bloody long time. It's part of our popular culture.

"It would sad to see its end at the age of 18. It would be lovely to see it come back for its 20th anniversary."

The reality show first appeared on screens in 2000 and plugged as a "social experiment" and became extremely popular, but viewing figures fell back in recent years.

It is understood that Channel 5 was to bring popular US TV show The Bachelor to a British audience, as a rival to ITV2's Love Island.

HeraldScotland: 'Nasty' Nick Bateman is making a return to the Big Brother house

The first edition of the show quickly built momentum thanks to the antics of Craig Phillips and Nick Batemen - dubbed Nasty Nick by the tabloids - and peaked with an audience of 9.5 million during the final.

After Channel 4 pulled the plug Channel 5 stepped in to air the show in a two year deal in 2012.

Bu the channel failed to bring viewers back, with an average 1.6 million people tuning into the 12th series.

In 2015, Channel 5 struck a deal to broadcast Big Brother for the next three years.   

Under the deal, which was worth as much as £60m, Channel 5 secured the rights to broadcast Big Brother until the end of 2018.

The deal was to see the channel continue to air two series of Celebrity Big Brother and one series of the traditional format each year, as well as various associated spin off themed shows.

At the time of signing the new deal, Big Brother was lauded as one of the most important shows in the Channel 5 schedule, with an average of about three million viewers tuning in to watch Katie Price beat Katie Hopkins in the most recent series of Celebrity Big Brother.

Viacom, which bought Channel 5 from Richard Desmond for £463m lin 2014 extended the reach of Big Brother to its MTV UK channel to run repeats.

Last year’s series finale on Channel 5 was watched by just 1.1 million people.

The most recent versions of Big Brother have been hosted by Emma Willis and narrated by Marcus Bentley. Rylan Clark-Neal hosts Channel 5’s spin-off show Bit on the Side.