Red Dwarf: Series III
From the first moments, eagle-eyed fans might notice the odd subtle change to Red Dwarf in Series III. (The first series to be titled with the roman numerals, though they wouldn't appear on-screen until Series VII.)
There's the theme tune for one thing. Howard Goodall's 2001-esque rendering of the 'Fun In The Sun' instrumental had seemed fairly sombre for an increasingly fast-paced comedy series. Thus the rock guitar version was born, cut to a faster-paced montage of shots from the series.
Then there's casting. Unless you watched the high-speed opening text crawl on freeze-frame (which the DVD gives you the opportunity to do), the newcomers seemed to have come out of nowhere. Kryten, a guest character in the previous series, became a regular, and Holly had acquired a great deal more hair.
Robert Llewellyn was cast as Kryten when David Ross - who was appearing on stage in a run of Flea in her Ear - was unavailable. Paul Jackson had seen the writer/actor/comedian in his own play, Mammon - Robot Born of Woman, and recommended him to writers Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. (Who, this series, had also come on board as full producers.)
Hattie Hayridge's casting followed on comfortably from her appearance as Holly's female equivalent in Parallel Universe the previous year. Norman Lovett's reluctance to travel the insane route of London rehearsals and Manchester studio filming - already journeying from his home in Edinburgh - made for tough negotiations and ultimately he left the show, only returning in the final episode of Series VII, eight years later.
The 'new' producers, having grown weary of the grey wooden sets, also brought in a production designer with a fresh vision. Mel Bibby had been first choice for Series I but hadn't been available - now, with Ridley Scott's Alien proving a strong influence, he was able to bring a fresh look that lifted Red Dwarf to new heights.
Similarly, costume designer Howard Burden - in his first job as full designer - overhauled the costumes to something fresh and spectacular. Howard had studied under Mary Husband at the BBC, working on light entertainment shows and Red Dwarf gave him the chance to stretch himself creatively.
Filmed in September/October 1989 and broadcast in November and December, Red Dwarf III established how the show was meant to look - a benchmark for production values in a BBC comedy and a style that would continue over every subsequent series.