Following the previous season's experiments with single camera shooting and four-walled sets, Red Dwarf VIII was taken back to its roots - in all sorts of ways. Aside from the resurrected crew and recreated sets, a studio audience returned to watch each episode be filmed live.
This decision was perhaps unsurprising, given that part of Doug Naylor's philosophy for the series was that the bunkroom dialogue scenes should return as key moments in the episodes. With the prison location, Craig would joke on set (stealing the limelight from Denny Hodge, the warm-up announcer for the season) that the whole thing had been built just to make him feel at home.
Working flat-out to the deadlines, as ever, meant that the audience were shown pre-edited footage on monitors whenever a scene was unable to be filmed live. The audience for Back in the Red were a little shocked to see a caption reading 'Cat does amazing dance routine with Blue Midget' - although those who returned for the recording of BITR Part Three were shown the majority of the sequence intact.
The sequence proved hideously complex to shoot. The entire greenscreen dance sequence was filmed first and edited together without backing plates or effects. Later, the model set built for the Starbug crash landing was photographed to match the angles already edited into the sequence. On top of those layers, Chris Veale would add the Midgets themselves, matched to the movements of choreographer (and former Queeg) Charles Augins.
Pete similarly featured much pre-recorded footage, thanks to the demands of the dinosaur effects. (Although the scenes of the Dwarfers cowering behind barrels - including a removed shot of Kryten holding his eyes up to see over - were performed live and cleverly cut with the existing footage.) Cut sequences for the episode would have shown Kryten attempting to fight with the dino, Rimmer attempting to compose an ode to Hollister, and another cheating basketball player successfully attempt to tread on Kochanski's foot.
The difficulties of a live audience shoot were proven when Chloë fell ill during rehearsals and re-recording for Krytie TV. With the schedule skilfully adjusted, the episode was still completed with minimal alterations. The scene showing Kochanski discovering 'Shower Night Live' was recorded in advance, and an insert shot ("The least enjoyable suicide mission I've ever been on") made it appear that the character was in a returning shuttle with the other Canaries.
An actor who had been mooted at one point to return to the set was David Ross. With Kryten restored to his factory settings, his voice was to return to the posh English accent used on the character's first appearance. Ultimately, rather than dub over the filmed sequence, Robert simply impersonated the accent.
Other removals from the series included a sign showing that the doctor's name was in fact Dr Legs Akimbo the doc, and the curious inclusion of a picture of Grant Naylor General Manager Helen Norman as Hollister's wife. (Quite rightly this was never shown - the previous descriptions of Mrs Hollister have been very unkind, and do not at all relate to the queen of GNP.) There was a cut scene showing additional messing around with the Time Wand - including drawing faces on the frozen crew, and turning Baxter into a 30 year old baby! Not that Hollister was left unscathed - Rimmer's rant about the captain's eating habits was shortened even from the tirade that was eventually shown!
Production on the series - in an event mirrored from series VI - also included a scene for Children in Need. Cunningly filmed in the new Blue Midget set avec skutters, the scene served as something of a teaser for the new series - but it didn't give the game away. Rimmer was shown in his old hologramatic form, and there was no mention of nanobots! Footage was also shot of this set for publicity on the various PBS stations in America.