Can Professor T help out a former pupil?

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Sunday: Professor T; (ITV, 9pm)

TV-wise, it’s been a strange old summer so far. For a start, sport has attempted to trick us into believing we’re living in a different year – after being postponed due to Covid-19, the Euro 2020 football championships took place, while the Tokyo Olympics get under way this week.

Wimbledon also returned to our screens following last year’s cancellation, while many other events trundled along as usual. But the fact there has been so much sport on TV lately hasn’t left much room for anything else. Channels 4 and 5 have attempted to provide viewers with alternative choices, but there’s nothing quite like tuning in for a major BBC or ITV drama to chase the lockdown blues away.

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Thankfully, the schedules are starting to look a little more normal, with BBC One beginning the broadcast of the second series of Baptiste, its spin-off from the hugely popular The Missing. But viewers have a big choice to make – do they opt for that, or tune into Professor T, ITV’s new Sunday evening crime drama?

DI Lisa Donckers and Professor TDI Lisa Donckers and Professor T
DI Lisa Donckers and Professor T

Of course, in these days of streaming and catch-up services, not to mention recording devices, nobody really has to miss anything, but if you’re looking for something a little bit quirky, then ITV is the place to be.

If Professor T looks familiar, then perhaps you’re a subscriber to the streaming service BritBox, where it made its debut a few weeks ago. If not, you’re in for a treat. It’s been made by the production company Eagle Eye, whose founders – Walter Iuzzolino, Jo McGrath and Jason Thorpe – are also the creative team behind Walter Presents, which is available via All 4 and has introduced a plethora of top-class foreign shows to the UK. It should perhaps come as no surprise, then, to find that the six-part drama is inspired by a Belgian series.

Ben Miller takes the lead role and is no stranger to the crime genre having played DI Richard Poole in the first two series of Death in Paradise; he’s also appeared in an episode of Agatha Christie’s Marple.

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Professor T – full name Professor Jasper Tempest – is a brilliant criminologist and lecturer at Cambridge (Miller’s own alma mater). Eccentric, suffering from OCD and with a tortured past, he prefers to study miscreants rather than getting hands-on in hunting them down. However, that changes when a former pupil, DI Lisa Donckers, asks for his help with a case. One of Jasper’s colleagues has been violently attacked on the campus, and Lisa thinks it may be the work of someone with a history of assault. It’s a sound theory, but it could be difficult to prove even with the professor’s help thanks to his rather distracting habit of embarking on bizarre flights of fancy…

“Professor T has it all: intriguing murders, dreaming spires, and a cast of unforgettable characters, each with their own fascinating secrets,” says Miller of the show. “You don’t have to be a professor of criminal psychology to know the ITV audience will love it.”

Here’s hoping he’s right.

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