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Checking in for BA at LHR T5 is not quite the same scenario as the OP was asking about.
Obviously T5 is BAs home port so one could hope you could check in anytime on the day.
That said home port is no guarantee either. Qantas international flight in Sydney have only had all day check in for about 2 years. Though first and emeralds they did accept all day. Prior to that it was 3 hours. The reason given was baggage storage issues. Seems trolleys for flights are only setup about 3 hours before a flight.
3 hours at non home ports is pretty common, but obviously there will be exceptions.
Try checking in at T5 before -3 if you don’t have BAEC status and see what happens 😉