A Day In The Life: Duncan McAlpine

For anyone aspiring to work in production, what better way to find out exactly what you could be signing up for by getting to know what we do day to day? Each week, we will follow one of the team as they explain a day in their life. This week we got to know a bit more about Duncan McAlpine, our Head of Development, and we can let you know what Duncan does day to day to keep Wilson Worldwide producing great content ideas.

Morning (6:00-9:30)

I am not a morning person. I am if you speak slowly and don’t make any sudden movements. Currently I am woken up by the world’s noisiest flock of ring-necked parakeets which seen to have settled in Queen’s Wood in Highgate that my garden backs onto. I must talk to my cat about them. Though he is a Ragdoll and frankly a bit useless in all things cats are supposed to do. A bit of breakfast tv before I tube in – you never know what tv ideas a piece of news or a studio guest might spark. I travel in on the Northern Line from Highgate, London’s deepest tube line, and it’s unbearably hot and stuffy at the best of times.

During the day (9:30-18:00):

One of the great joys of working in television is that every day is different. If I am producing something we might be in pre-prep so making calls, arranging locations, tussling with agents over talent fees. If in production it might be on location anywhere in the world. Five years ago this month I was in India in overwhelming heat and humidity making a car show for Discovery. One time in the village of Baruipur, I had to drive the asset car back to the hotel in Kolkata and couldn’t afford to prang it in any way. It was three hours of driving hell, no streetlights, people wearing dark clothing, oncoming trucks with only one headlight working, dead animals in the road and a motorway section that just ended in an uncompleted flyover bridge section. If it’s Development and coming up with programme ideas, I am usually out of the office meeting someone or making a taster tape to pitch to broadcasters. We spent a nice half day recently on the Kings Road in Chelsea filming with a high profile individual for an idea about a travel show with a difference. My next meeting in half an hour is with a diamond dealer. Meeting and talking with people you learn something new every day.


Evening (18:00-00:00):

For relaxation I sing with a choir on Friday nights. We perform in London at The Albert Hall or The Barbican four times a year and other engagements like Hyde Park with Ray Davies or backing singing with Noel Gallagher on tour. Very late a night I am often scouring American comic book auction sites, buying stuff for my collection or to sell on via eBay. The movies make for interesting trends so I am buying Avengers comics at the moment and more Batman stuff as a new movie is in pre-pre production. I watch as much television as I can, usually dramas and documentaries and force myself to watch things (like Love Island) so I can comment and be inspired – oh well alright then, steal ideas – for new tv programme projects. Feed the cats, see how my partner Lou is doing and touch base with my kids Ben and Ella before collapsing into bed to read – latest book The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck – and think about a trip to Washington next month.



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