During high recycling conditions and divertor detachment in the TCV tokamak, divertor target Langmuir probes never measure electron temperatures much below similar to5 eV. Code simulations using B2-EIRENE of these plasmas indicate that Te approximate to 1 eV. This inconsistency has also been seen in other tokamaks. In this paper, the influence on a theoretical Langmuir probe VI-characteristic of a strong T-e gradient parallel to the magnetic field is examined by using B2-EIRENE simulated T-e and n(e) profiles and adopting a simple numerical approach to compute divertor target electron energy distribution functions. Standard fitting of these theoretically generated H-characteristics results in a temperature very close to the predicted value at the highest densities corresponding to divertor detachment in TCV. At intermediate densities, the computed temperature at the inner target is found to be very sensitive to assumptions regarding the magnitude of the assumed electron collision mean-free-path. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.