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Professor T review: Another excellent addition to the Walter Presents collection

Professor T review: Another excellent addition to the Walter Presents collection

Character driven dramas are often the hardest to sell to an audience. Sure, the plots need to be interesting enough as well, but when you’re relying on one main character to drive a show forward it puts a lot of faith in that individual and especially the actor or actress. Take Hugh Laurie for example and his recent performances as Dr. Gregory House for 8 seasons and now Dr. Eldon Chance. Beyond both being doctors there’s really nothing similar about the two at all and Laurie manages to portray both with such an overwhelming believability that you forget you’re watching the same actor so easily.

Professor T is very much in the same vein as shows like House, Chance and apparently even Hannibal. No, as far as I’ve seen there hasn’t been any cannibalism or similar, but this Belgian drama series has that same sense of eccentricity and the bizarre that captivates an audience. Professor T comes to UK shores after a couple of years courtesy of Channel 4’s Walter Presents, cultivated by Italian TV producer Walter Iuzzolino who selects underappreciated foreign language drama and comedy for ALL 4. So far we’ve had such gems as Deutschland 83 and Valkyrien, and the collection as a whole has been very successful.

Back to Professor T and it’s a bold show that looks to balance drama, comedy and emotion. Koen De Bouw brings Jasper Teerlinck to life with such an addictive quality that it’s hard to see past the Professor as he dominates the show. This is no bad thing as it needs a strong lead performance to anchor some of the slightly stranger ideas the writers have and De Bouw does a great job of keeping things on track. On paper Professor T has a lot of moments that just shouldn’t work, yet with a joyous soundtrack used to perfection it translates really well to a UK audience. Humour is one of the most difficult things to translate from one country to the next but here it’s almost like Professor T is one of our own.The titular character acts as an advisor to the police in between giving lectures on similar subjects. It does often feel like an amalgamation of various other TV shows (dare we call it House To Get Away With Murder? No?) but actually Professor T manages to be its own unique creation, never quite falling into that trap of copying other similar offerings. Jasper is more serious that Gregory House, less cutthroat than Annalise Keating and certainly nowhere near as unstable as Will Graham or Hannibal. He’s his own beast, not relying on sarcasm or sass but rather leaning towards being very matter of fact and it’s hard to tell whether he’s constantly on the wind up or just oblivious to how others may take him. Either way he’s extremely entertaining to watch.

T’s fear of germs combined with his utterly strange delusional moments create such a memorable character that you don’t really care about his tendency to treat others like dirt. He has no respect for authority, he pushes people way beyond their comfort zones and all that seems to matter to him is the end result. It’s generally an effective technique and quieter, more intimate moments show he does have a heart after all, but for those meeting him for the first time he’s quite the acquired taste. Luckily his colleagues (of sorts) Inspectors Annelies Donckers (Ella Leyers) and Daan de Winter (Bart Hollanders) are more than up to the challenge, certainly more so than their far more sceptical bosses. Donckers especially is headstrong and determined and after having studied under Professor T she knows there’s no one better to help her out.

Professor T isn’t really a crime drama series. Yes there are mysteries that need solving, such as students being abducted and threatened, but that’s not really the point. An audience won’t be gripped by how clever the storylines are or the twists and turns like Sherlock for example. Professor T is exactly what it says on the tin and it’s Koen De Bouw that will keep you coming back for more. The developing working relationship with Donckers and de Winter also humanises him slightly, but not too much. Even if he’s helping people he’s still upsetting others along the way. We just have to hope that sharp tongue of his doesn’t end up making him one of the victims. This is another excellent addition to the Walter Presents collection and definitely one to watch.


Professor T launches on More4 on 18 August at 9pm

View Comments (27)
  • Where has professor T been all my life. This is entertainment at it’s best. Brilliant love and adore the soundtrack.

  • A nice combination of some likeable characters (just like normal people! – the two main police officers), quirkiness (eg rooftop singing) and humour, and some VERY serious / sad issues (including that of the senior police officer) + Flemish dialogue which I love to listen to , even when I can’t understand it:-) I look forward to it every Friday!!!

  • I love this tv program. Everything is great about it. Cast, characters storyline. Don’t mind the subtitles either. Fantastic.

  • I love the Professor T series. TV at its best. I love the characters, the OCD, the singing, the role play, the laughs, the tears (Dan getting shot), it’s all great. Can’t wait for series two.

  • I really like these programmes, the incidental characters are not just wall paper Vrouw Sneyers is a wonderful character – more like her please, her throw-away comments & disapproving glares! The Dean is another – I’m sure that I’ve met him somewhere.

    Not sure if there could be another series, but I’d love to see one!

  • Addictive viewing and good to see something that mixes intelligence. humour and pathos so well.
    Koen De Bouw’s portrayal is perfectly pitched and the slow development of Teerlink’s character is fascinating and moving to watch., Sharing in his mental pictures, such as seeing chickens on the heads of stupid or irritating people is genius. It’s refreshing too to see physically flawed looking characters rather than all the plastic ones of so much TV. One of the best things I’ve seen in ages.

  • Taking as an example series 2, episode 3, this represents some of the best TV drama around. Cleverly scripted, excellently acted and expertly filmed. The story of Professor T has taken us through complicated and frequently moving issues of mental health and other human conditions, while telling stories of intrigue. The fact that an underlying humour has been evident is a part of Flemish culture that is admired and loved the world over. Bravo.

  • Quite the best series I’ve seen for ages, well done Belgian TV – and loved it even more a second time. But surely, there must be a third series, if not a finale special, to tie up all the loose ends. And I am panicking that there seems to be no mention of that possibility….
    In the end I reckon this is less of a crime series and more of a Pride & Prejudice thwarted love story centered on Christina and T. After all of T’s attempts at heroics, it would be good to see him defending his actions, being freed, and actually winning over Christina – despite Mrs Sneyer’s very funny Iago-style manoeuvres. Anyone else been put off oysters forever?
    So, come on Walter, persuade them to make another series, please????

  • I am now completely addicted to watching Prof T. It is humorous and surreal, with excellent acting from Koen. The actual crimes plots almost become incidental to the brilliant Prof T and the dean. I love watching those two together along with Mrs Sneyers.
    Unfortunately when I finish watching series 2 I will be getting withdrawal symptoms.
    Please continue making this fantastic series!

  • This is an amazing series – somehow, the writers manage to balance moments of humour (both in ‘real life’ and in the surrealistic hallucinations) with profoundly serious questions on topics such as disability, divorce, bereavement and euthanasia. I can’t remember the last time I saw such an intelligently written series – and it’s entertaining, too!

    Congratulations to the brilliant people who created and wrote this series, and to the cast who bring the characters to life.

  • great series which I am watching for the second time. And Daan is brilliant…lots of the scenes would end on Daan and he doesn’t have to speak, you just get it, you know what he’s thinking…you feel what he’s feeling…brilliant. Why has he left ?

  • Am trying to find the song played when Annelies dances with her dad. I so love this series, totally brilliant. Xx Cathy

  • Best program on TV. Just finished 3rd series and am wondering if that is the end.
    If you like philosophy mixed in with your entertainment then Professor T is superb nourishment. The closest series to it, in that regard, is True Detective.

  • I fear it must be THE END, with all the loose strings tied up and accounted for.
    I cannot praise the writers enough for this intelligently written script. Series 3 targeted the characters rather than the crimes so perhaps anyone coming cold to Series 3 may be disappointed. My advice? watch from the beginning, Series 1 Episode 1, it is an absolute treat. And the music!!!
    And finally, please could Mrs Sneyers have her own comedy series?

  • This show has been shown in AUstralia as well. We have just had Series 3 on. This is up there in my all time top 10 favourites, very witty and intelligent. I loved series 3 based in the jail. And yes I second Mrs Sneyers having her own comedy show…. love her! Sad it had to end, but have started watching from the beginning again and it is even better the 2nd time.

  • My husband and I absolutely loved this series, the humour, pathos, quirkyness. I’m Dutch so loved following the Flemish. Adored the sound track, is it possible to buy the CD if it exists? If it doesn’t, I suggest someone puts it out there.

  • The song is “Things we loved from yesterday” written by Ian Rae. Sounds like Julie Andrews is singing but the performer cannot be found in any internet search.

  • Love this show! Quirky and unexpected. Frau Sneyers is amazing … here in New York City we travel to work in our sneakers and THEN switch to dress shoes. Perhaps it’s a cultural norm I’m unfamiliar with but I think it’s the writers highlighting her idiosyncratic nature. Professor T himself makes me want to go back to school and study psychology. I will definitely feel a sense of less when I finish the last episode (only 2 left). Can anyone tell me what the classical piece being played is in the beginning of season (series?) 3, episode 12?

  • Wonderful show! Does anyone know the title of the piercingly sad Baroque song that plays through Episode 3 of season Two: “The Family?”

  • Bought a PAL player just so I could buy season two. As soon as season 1or 3 are for sale, I’mma buy it!

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