Chris Tarrant signs off in last ever Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? show

Chris Tarrant has bowed out from the hit ITV show Who Wants To Be Millionaire? tonight after a decade and a half, telling viewers: "I've loved every minute."

The presenter brought the series to an end with a low-key finale in which he was presented with a bouquet of flowers as he said farewell to the audience and thanked them for their support.

For many years, the show has dominated the TV schedules, but in its latter existence it was had mainly been reduced to occasional screenings, mainly with celebrities teaming up to answer questions for charity.

Tarrant claimed in November last year that the show was cancelled in part because of the public's reaction to the recession.

Viewers saw Millionaire come to an end this evening with a further celebrity special which included appearances by James Nesbitt, paired with Dom Joly, and Sir Chris Hoy who teamed up with comic Kevin Bridges.

Kevin Bridges and Sir Chris Hoy won £20,000 for charity. Credit: ITV

But any hope of finishing on a colossal score were dashed by the final duo to face questionmaster Tarrant, Countdown star Rachel Riley and Hairy Biker Dave Myers.

The duo rounded off the show by winning just £1,000 for charity, losing out on £19,000 with their final wrong answer.

Watch the full episode on ITV Player

Closing the show, Tarrant gave a simple farewell after being presented with a bunch of flowers by the production team, telling him: "Oh darling, you shouldn't have."

He told viewers:

Bless you, it's been a fantastic 15 years. I've loved every minute.

There have been lots of magical moments.

All that remains is for me to thank all of our splendid guests who have braved the hotseat tonight - and over 15 years. And all the millions of you at home for watching.From all of us on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - good night and goodbye.

– Chris Tarrant

The studio was then filled with glittering ticker tape.

Since launching in September 1998, the form has launched around the globe, becoming one of the most successful programmes in the world, launching spin-off games and becoming the inspiration for Danny Boyle's hit movie Slumdog Millionaire.

Its first millionaire was Judith Keppel, in 2000:

Christ Tarrant with Judith Keppel posing with her cheque for £1 million Credit: Peter Jordan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The show's first episode aired in Britain in September 1998: