Production secretary Tom Thurgood

Production secretary Tom Thurgood

Job title: Production secretary
Industries: High-end TV

After completing a television production degree at Bournemouth University, Tom Thurgood developed an appetite for the small screen – but finding his break in the industry was never going to be as straightforward as handing over a graduate’s scroll.

Initially inspired by his early years at the Television Workshop at home in Nottingham, which has produced regional talent such as Vicky McClure and Jack O’Connell, Tom gained a place on Carnival Films’ nine-month runners programme in 2013.

At the end of the scheme and keen to remain a part of the Carnival team, Tom secured a role within the legal and business affairs department, which "really helped with my understanding of development deals,” he says.

But the dream was always production. After he'd spent three-and-a-half years in-house at Carnival – latterly as an executive producer's assistant – a former production executive there, Zoe Edwards, suggested Tom be put forward for the Make a Move programme, funded by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Skills Fund. This allowed Tom to step up from his assistant role to production secretary on the third series of Carnival’s Lucky Man.

The scheme allowed me to develop my skills in a really supportive environment. It was invaluable having a clear training plan from the beginning.

Tom Thurgood

The role on Lucky Man involved travel to Hong Kong for filming. He and the line producer were the only members of the production team to travel overseas and support the series. “Working on location in Hong Kong for two months was an unforgettable experience,” Tom says.

Make a Move enabled Tom to take on the role of production secretary in the knowledge that he could learn on the job without the pressure of meeting expectations from the start. He completely exceeded expectations and has a brilliant career ahead of him.

Charlotte Ashby, head of production, Carnival Films and Television

Tom has now used his experience from Lucky Man to move to a position on Call the Midwife and he credits both Carnival and Make a Move as paving the way for a freelance career within production.

"The ultimate goal is to become a producer. I know there are lots of routes into that, but this is the one I have chosen. After Lucky Man and Call the Midwife, I feel I could work on anything.”

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