The final ever episode of Fashion Police will screen next week, as the original red carpet series wraps after more than two decades. Joanna Hunkin speaks to Melissa Rivers ahead of the big goodbye.

This is really the end of an era - how are you feeling?

It's very bittersweet. It obviously wasn't my decision but that being said, the show has been on the air for 22 years. To have something that I helped create and to be on the air for 22 years and become so much of a - I almost want to say cultural phenomenon - you can't be that unhappy. You've got to keep in perspective. I'm so proud of what I helped create and I'm so proud of the show and that even after my mum's passing, we kept it going. I'm so proud to have been a part of it. Twenty-two years! What stays on the air for 22 years these days?

True - you and The Simpsons! So if it wasn't your decision, whose was it?

I think the network just felt that it needed to breath and take a break. That it was time. They sign the cheques! They might be right, I don't know. When you're so close to something, you don't always see it clearly. Or understand decisions in the moment.

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As a producer, you must have encountered some fairly stressful moments over the years, given your mother's tendency to, er, not hold back?

I think the word you're looking for is "antics". I think I've blocked most of them out. My mum and I had such a great working relationship and I knew that she was very aware of where the line was. But you never knew what was going to come out of her mouth especially on the red carpet.

Has there been much fallout over the years? Are there people who hold grudges?

The biggest stars were always the ones who understood it was in good fun. It was never malicious or saying someone was a bad person. It was never saying someone was mean - except for a few times and they deserved it. When someone's making $20 million a year and getting all their clothes for free and we don't like one of the dresses they wore during awards season - you probably should step back and take a deep breath. Get a little perspective going.

Right, that's a fair point. You weren't just going up to people in the street and saying these things.

Exactly. We always had a rule: No civilians. No one's dates or wives unless they were putting themselves out there or were also public figures.

Okay, so tell us what to expect from this final episode?

We really tried to relive so much fun and so much love and so many laughs. Plus, we have an episode that never aired so we're going to show some of that. We did a look back at 80s fashion, so you'll see some clips from that. It's really about remembering the warmth and the fun we all had. Over the course of 22 years, most of the people on the staff were there for a long time. When the show started, I wasn't even married.

It's not just you guys who have changed, Hollywood must be a very different place now after 22 years...

When we were first started on the red carpet, it was the cable revolution. Now it's a digital revolution and a streaming revolution. No one watches TV in a traditional sense anymore. There's very little destination viewing. At the time, when we started, there was must-see TV. Online didn't exist.

And what about the celebrities and how they react to the attention?

I think we're at a time and a place in the world where everyone is so scared and you can't say anything negative about anybody even in jest. And that's difficult. I mean, it never really stopped us! We're just having fun.

I imagine this final episode is going to be really quite difficult for you, given your mother's legacy.

Well, we've already filmed it. I got through the taping and I got through the day. All of us who were there from the beginning, which was an incredible amount of staff and crew, all took our pictures and said our goodbyes. Suddenly I was standing on set and it was very, very quiet and that's when I broke down and just cried. It's another goodbye. I like hellos.

LOWDOWN:
Who: Melissa Rivers
What: Fashion Police: The Farewell
When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
Where: E! Channel