So far, this has merely resulted in Piper occasionally referring to the Inspector as "the Professor". While his intentions of manipulating Piper and usurping the Inspector are seemingly malicious, the Professor's complete motivations have yet to be revealed.
Behind the ScenesEdit
The first reference to Professor TimeSpace occurs in the new series Season 6 episode "The Shattering Dawn", written by Edgar Wright. In it, Piper addresses the Inspector as "Professor" shortly before their encounter with the revived Permian Warriors. Fans of the programme initially dismissed this is a mere slip of the tongue, as there is no legitimate reason for Piper to call the Inspector "Professor", not even as an affectionate nickname.Wright addressed the line on his Twitter account shortly after the episode's initial broadcast, providing more insight into the significance of the Professor. He went into greater detail on the episode's DVD commentary.
During the brief peried when Wright was in negotiations to take over as the series' Show Runner, Head Writer, Script Editor, Executive Producer, and Prop Master at the beginning of Season 7, he revealed that the "Professor" reference was a seed of a larger storyline, and that further details about the Professor would be revealed "in time. And in space. And in depth". He hinted that since both the Inspector and the Professor are non-linear beings, this would enable their encounters to take place non-continuously, which would supposedly allow for dynamic and unconventional storytelling.
These plans, which were revealed to fans years after Season 7 actually aired, have come to be known as "Wight's Grand Scheme".
When Wright eventually turned down the position(s), it became unclear if any additional references to "the Professor" would occur, though Wright is contracted to provide at least 2 new scripts before 2016. Additionally, Professor references have been inserted into the DVD releases of several classic series episodes (see below).
Fans speculation about the Professor has been rampant. Some more cynical viewers have dismissed the idea of the Professor as way to subvert the established continuity that the Inspector is the Last of His Kind, as well as being yet another cost-cutting measure by creating a new villain without having to hire an additional actor (again).
Several references to "The Professor" have been inserted into the DVD releases of classic series episodes, along with other new digitally "improved" special effects. BTV Home Media has not provided a complete list of these instances, but sharp-eyed fans have noted the following:
- In the Series 10 episode "The Seeds of Armageddon", Mary Sue can now be heard saying "Professor. I mean..." before her line "Inspector, what is it?" at the 13:06 minute mark. This audio was taken from an episode of "Challenge University" in which the late actress Susannah York appeared, 2 years before she joined the cast of "Inspector SpaceTime". It was inserted into the portion of the scene where Mary Sue is facing away from the camera. This was a controversial decision, as it implies that the Professor was able to influence Mary Sue, who was always depicted as strong-minded.
- In the Series 23 episode "Darmalam", the words "Call the Professor!" and a partially obscured phone number can now be seen written on Jeffrey's notebook during the scene where Therion Blake and his robot are introduced. Prior to the digital alteration, it just said "Lucy"
- Shortly after the 7th Inspector's metamorphosis in the episode "The Caverns of Thoraxis", a mortarboard (traditional headgear of a professor) can now be seen on the hatrack in the haberdashery where the Inspector goes to select his new clothes. There is some debate as to whether this constitutes an overt "Prof Ref", but it certainly seems unnecessary if it wasn't.