This was truly appalling. I thought the October 1996 relaunch was pathetic, the 1997 look just ruined the whole premise of the show.
I remember talking with someone who felt the same, that "Crinkley Bottom" was in the mind of the viewer. You were never meant to see it for real. You would see the "locals" and hear Noel talking about it and various locations, and it was all in the mind of the viewer.
However they started to meddle with that premise from the autumn of 1994 when the opening titles showed a cartoon version of the village. Okay, not terrible, but it was the start of the meddling process.
In 1996 when they dumped the fantastic music, and in the opening titles you saw the outside of the great house for the first time, and the approach road, it just ruined it.
By October 1997, the production team must have been sniffing their felt top pens, as this idea for the set was truly terrible, and I am surprised Noel agreed to this new look, especially the truly crap "window" view of the village, I mean even Channel 5 could have built a better set for one of their shows back then than this.
I am amazed at how fast the whole show went down the crapper, from the rot set in autumn 1994 to the appalling look of this in October 1997.