This time, I turned up at the former Drill Hall at 11:45 (doors were 12:30, recording 1:30) to find the queue already down the road and round the corner. When my companion and I reached the door, they had filled all the guaranteed seats and were dishing out numbered stickers for standbys.
This turned out to be a good thing, though; we could go off and have a sandwich and a chat, rather than spending an hour corralled in the waiting area, where there are never enough seats, and we got in, and we got to sit together, and we got a good view of proceedings. High-fives were exchanged when the producer announced that the BBC had received 17,000 applications for tickets.
And what a pleasure it was to watch a small, tightly-knit cast established over several seasons interacting with each other, both in and out of character! I went in slightly resenting Benedict Cumberbatch, on whose massive popularity I blame my failure to get in to the previous recording, but have to admit he has a previously unexpected delightfulness when seen in the flesh.
The new series starts on Wednesday. I, for one, will enjoy it even more in the knowledge that one section of dialogue took four or five tries because Stephanie Cole messed up a line first time round and declared "Oh fiddly arse!", rendering Benedict Cumberbatch, who had the next line, unfit for purpose for several takes.