I don't believe so, maybe they just used better microphones to capture the audience laughterWas a laughter track added around 1999? I can't remember if the book I read mentions it, but have noticed on the episodes this week it's quite intrusive and doesn't add to the enjoyment. Maybe I'll get used to it and mentally tune it out.
I think you're right wstol. They also had some of the cast there to give the audience a full night of entertainment. The BBC actually went to great lengths to ensure the audience had a good time. The history of the show and how some of the production is done is all explained in the 30th anniversary documentary as here. The part in question begins with Roy Clarke at about 1 hour & 4 minutes in. (I know its not the best quality video, but you can get the ideas)Think this info is reasonably correct, please tell me otherwise.
I think in the 1990s they stopped recording the interior scenes in front of a studio audience.
The whole show was recorded first, then shown at a theatre, and the actual audience laughter dubbed on.
Before all this, just the exterior scenes were pre-filmed, and the interior scenes filmed in a studio in front of an audience. The pre-filmed scenes shown on a monitor. All actual laughter from all scenes recorded onto the programme.
Most shows do have genuine laughter.
I agree - It always seemed strangely ...... "flat" with no laughter.I must say, I prefer the laughter on screen, even if it is dubbed in. I didn't really think much about it until I watched some of the Christmas episodes, which were films; so there was no laughter.