That was impressively quick. I need a new passport for an upcoming trip (not Australia, as it happens), so wandered into town last Monday to get the obligatory terrible ID photo taken and then to the Post Office to fill out the paperwork. Now, gov.uk says passports normally take 3 weeks and I was allowing twice that as delayed passport applications are one of the standard news headlines here... so I was pleasantly surprised today to find a packet from the Home Office with a shiny new passport! It's actually dated 8th Feb so they must have issued it pretty much as soon as they got the form.
Curiously, I actually have to sign this one myself - my last passport came with my signature scanned and already printed in it.