'Professor T' — release date, cast, and plot for the Ben Miller crime drama

Professor T with Ben Miller as the crime-cracking professor
Death in Paradise star Ben Miller swaps Saint Marie for Cambridge in new crime series Professor T.

Professor T is a new crime drama starring Death in Paradise actor Ben Miller.

Ben stars as the eccentric, but brilliant Criminology Professor Jasper Tempest, who works at Cambridge University.

Talking about the show, Ben says: "I saw the original Belgian series and loved so much about it, and I love how Jasper is this very unusual criminal psychologist. The stories and puzzles are really intriguing, but what I love most of all is that every character has a proper backstory. Jasper's is revealed little by little."

Ben Miller as Professor T

Ben as the crime-fighter.

Professor T release date

Professor T started on ITV on Sunday 18 July at 9pm in the UK. It's six parts, with each episode running to 50 minutes. The third part is on ITV on Sunday 1 August at 9pm.

In the US Professor T is available on the PBS MASTERPIECE Prime Video Channel.

The show has already exclusively launched first on BritBox in the UK.

Check out our full list of BritBox shows for all the series available.

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What’s the plot?

The opening episode sees the Professor unwillingly caught up in a police investigation when Diana Tyson is attacked on the university campus. DI Lisa Donckers thinks the attack is very similar to one that occurred years beforehand. And she reckons the Professor is just the man to crack the case.

But, Professor T, who suffers from OCD, is prone to daydreams and fantasies, and the viewers will see these quirky sequences in the series.

Describing the show’s appeal, Ben says: “Professor T has it all: intriguing murders, dreaming spires, and a cast of unforgettable characters, each with their own fascinating secrets.

"You don’t have to be a professor of criminal psychology to know the ITV audience will love it.”

Ben is of course much-loved for playing DI Richard Poole in Death in Paradise. So how does Jasper compare to Richard?

"Richard Poole had a great deal of trouble reading people's emotions, whereas Jasper's subject of special interest is people's emotional state. And Richard always had everyone's best interests at heart, but I don't entirely trust Jasper! He's very unpredictable...".

Who's in the cast of Professor T?

Joining Ben Miller is Emma Naomi as DI Lisa Donckers, an old student of the Professor. Other cast include Frances de la Tour and Barney White. Frances plays Jasper’s overbearing mother, while Barney is police sidekick Dan Winters.

Plus Andy Gathergood (The Salisbury Poisonings), Sarah Woodward (Quiz), Ben Onwukwe (Marcella), Douglas Reith (Downton Abbey), and Juliet Aubrey (Van der Valk).

MORE: What's new on BritBox

What happens in episode one of Professor T?

The stark opening scenes see a university student being attacked by a masked man. 

We're later introduced to the professor as he goes through a rigorous and precise routine to ready himself for the day. On his way into his university job, he walks past his old family home, seeing a vision of his younger self being shouted at by his dad.

We then meet DI Lisa Donckers for the first time, a former student of Professor T’s now investigating the attack of the student. It’s revealed that the victim was raped and that she can’t recall any details of the incident. But she does reveal that her necklace was taken.

Donckers pleads with Professor T to help her get inside the victim’s mind, but Professor T resists, saying he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, he just studies crime rather than solving them. Donckers reveals to Professor T that she suspects the case is linked to a previous one five years before. The professor, though, soon sees that Donckers has a personal connection to the old case.

But, Donckers eventually convinces the professor to be involved in the case. And when he interviews the victim he helps her unlock a vital detail which helps the police catch the rapist.

Meanwhile, we get a further tragic insight into the professor’s childhood when we see him in his old house witnessing his father’s suicide. 

What happens in episode two?

The episode opens with Jasper giving a lecture about how many people in the past have theorized that certain people are predisposed to crime. The professor even cracks a joke, which sadly goes down like a lead balloon!

We then switch to a swish event, where champagne is being served. However, one poor man gets more than he bargained for in his glass — namely a dose of poison!

But why has the librarian been killed at a drinks reception? The police have a roomful of suspects and no apparent motive. So, obviously, they turn up in the professor’s office to ask for help.

The librarian had no wife, no kids, bad habits, or hobbies and so the police conclude that he wasn’t the intended victim. Something Jasper agrees on. He quickly tells the police they are probably looking for a woman, as they’re seven more times more likely to use poison as a murder weapon.

We must mention that there’s a fantastic cheerleading sequence in the professor’s head as he bluntly tells a poor potential suspect about her husband’s infidelity!

Despite booting the officers out of his office, Jasper later takes a keen interest in the case…

Is there a trailer?

Yes, at last there is a trailer to enjoy. You get a real insight into Professor T’s character, as he’s seen wearing gloves to select a record. Professor T can be seen giving a lecture to his students. He declares: “Crime is inherently traumatic, a narrow snapshot of the event encodes on the brain, within seconds this memory starts to be contaminated. Once contaminated it can destroy everything!” He also delivers the great line, “I do not catch scumbags. I study them!”

What else do we know?

The series was filmed in Cambridge and Belgium. It has been made by the newly formed production company, Eagle Eye Drama.

It is based on the Belgian series of the same name.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!