Posted 23 August 2023
Interview by Frankie Faccion
Mention Seth Daood

What does it take to be a researcher for BBC’s Natural History Unit? Seth Daood fills us in

At the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Bristol-based Seth Daood works on researching for their nature documentaries – a role he landed by “lurking on the BBC jobs board everyday”. His journey hasn’t always been easy, and though the fast-paced, demanding nature of the industry has often left him struggling to keep his “head above water”, he has deftly picked up the multitude of skills needed to work in television research. Seth tells us why an analytical eye and organisational skills are so important in this sector, plus his go-to platforms to find creative jobs.

Seth Daood

Seth Daood

Job Title

Researcher, BBC Natural History Unit



Place of Study

Natural Sciences, Cambridge, 2018-2021

Selected Clients


Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do as a researcher at the BBC Natural History Unit?
As a researcher in the Natural History Unit, my job is to find some of the exciting stories you see in nature documentaries produced by the BBC. These can be anything from exciting mass-predation events to romantic love stories.

The main skills you need for this include the ability to read analytically – you spend a lot of time reading scientific research papers and articles, trying to decide if they look like an interesting story and are worth pursuing.

After that you typically talk with scientists and start organising the logistics for the shoots, which is fun. You also sometimes get the opportunity to go on shoots, but you have to be very organised as your role is to support the producer and help everything move logistically.

“My job is to find some of the exciting stories you see in nature documentaries produced by the BBC.”

Creative lives in progress seth daood bbc

BBC Natural History unit, the unit of the BBC that Seth works for

Creative lives in progress seth daood bbc 2

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
I’m influenced by things around me, and often these aren’t directly from nature. I love taking inspiration for storylines from music, video games and books.

Of course there are the classic nature documentaries such as Planet Earth, but in my day-to-day work, I often go to non-nature sources for inspiration and I often find these to be the most useful for moving storylines. I am a big fan of country music, and you would be shocked how many country song lyrics provide the perfect narration to almost all the stories I find!

What recent project/piece of work at the BBC Natural History Unit are you most proud of?
I have only worked on one show so far at the Natural History Unit, called ASIA which is a super-landmark series due to air in 2024. These shows take a long time to produce and I have only worked on this one so far, which I guess makes it my favourite!

How I got here

What kind of skills are needed to do your role?
The main skills to have are the ability to analyse and organisation. It helps to have camera experience too but that is by no means necessary!

There is no specific training needed, but making your own films using your phone or any equipment you have available to you is always a good starting place. It is really important to have an understanding of how storytelling works, and to know how you can apply the key aspects of a story to animals – who do not take direction and definitely do not follow a script!

Seth filming BTS footage in a tropical location for the BBC

How did you land the job?
I spent every day lurking on the BBC jobs board. There are other places you can look at too, including Creative Access, The Talent Manager and Screenskills. Twitter is also a great place to find new jobs for emerging talent!

What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
It was intense, and you hit the ground running to make the most of the opportunity you’ve got. It is difficult to find my feet, even now I feel like I lose them every now and again.

It can be hard to keep your head above water, but it is definitely doable. The key is to have confidence in the work you are doing, and keeping clear and open communication with those above you to make sure you are staying on top of all your tasks.

“To land the job, I spent every day lurking on the BBC jobs board. There are other places you can look at too, including Creative Access, The Talent Manager and Screenskills.”

The BBC careers page, where Seth came across his role as a researcher

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful to your work or career, what would they be and why?
I find a lot of my stories through Researchgate, which is a place for scientists to share their papers without the paywalls of scientific journals. I find it really amazing that scientists are so willing to share their work for free, and often are very happy to talk about it when you ask. It is really a key step in helping make this job easier.

Two other things which have been useful have been the National Geographic Museum, and wildlife photography accounts on Instagram. Often these two places are a great source of information for new stories!

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Being a person of colour has been very difficult. There are extra boundaries you encounter which others do not, and communicating those to your team has been very difficult. That said, for me it’s been very important to take steps to ensure that subconscious biases are consciously tackled.

“It can be hard to keep your head above water, but the key is to have confidence in the work you are doing.”

Seth’s workplace set up at the BBC office in Bristol

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
Save, save, save. As a creative you never know when you'll get your next job, after the contract you are on ends. If you really want to stay in the industry, you've got to save and be ready to support yourself in case there is time between your next projects.

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
The bit of advice that helped me the most, particularly when it comes to interviews, is that if you have a criticism or didn't like the way something worked, you've always got to have a suggestion on how you would have done it differently.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
The first thing is to believe that it is possible. I didn't at first, and I spent more time looking for back-up plans, rather than looking for actual opportunities that would get me to where I wanted to be.

You have to apply for – and throw yourself at – every opportunity, and no matter how many people say no, one will eventually come around. There is nothing you can’t learn, so when applying be mindful of skills you might need to pick up to strengthen your application and help you out along the way.

Interview by Frankie Faccion
Mention Seth Daood