In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the fanatically awaited season of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the great Dane sold out. Well not quite..more likely the amount of time it took for me to two-finger type it. The sale of the 100,000 tickets for the 12-week run at London’s Barbican Theatre was the fastest in British theatrical history.Hysteria and madness surrounded the production, with fans travelling from the four corners to get a glimpse of the the man or if they were lucky, to actually see him on stage. Many camp out overnight to grab the 100 tickets that are held back each day for £10, and are twelve deep to catch him when he sometimes comes out after the show, after initially saying he wasn’t going to do so. Needless-to-say this was not conjusive to collecting his graph on my sketch. I have battled hysteria before and it’s not pretty.Theatre staff were instructed not to accept anything at the stage door for him, so that scuttled that plan.I decided to take a more saner route and get a wristband for the BFI London Film Festival’s Gala Screening of Black Mass at the Odeon in Leicester Square yesterday. Both Benedict and Johnny Depp were scheduled to appear and they duly did. I even managed to get a good posse near the drop-off. So far so good. you may have noticed that ‘Benedict Cumbebatch’ is quite a lengthy moniker and he signs in full, which takes time. No ‘BC’ for Sherlock, although he did have a brief spell initializing his sig for Star Trek stuff. Therefore, and rightly so, it’s only one item per person. Here’s my dilemma. For four years I have carried around an A4 sized Tinker Tailor Solder Spy poster which had been signed by all the cast members, except Benedict. Try as I did through rain, hail and shine, I never managed to get it graphed. Do I try to get it signed this time or do I go with the drawing? I decided to go with the sketch, and it proved an excellent choice, because he was very pleased with the rendering and took time to, not only dedicate it, but write a nice message. I took the opportunity to ask, apologetically, if he wouldn’t mind also signing the poster, which he kindly did. Here’s the sketch. The poster and it’s tale is for another day.