Stuart Carter is managing director of Pioneer Productions.

I was slaving away dissolving meteorites for Nasa - as you do - at Columbia University, when I suddenly decided that I wanted to go into television. Luckily I got straight into the BBC making science programmes including Tomorrow's World, Horizon and programmes for the Open University.

I set up Pioneer in 1989 with two other founders who have since left. The first years were hard. The company now occupies three buildings and ha s a healthy slate of productions. I always knew we should target the US and our early productions were the root of our success there, including Extreme Machines and Raging Planet.

Currently we have Catastrophe on air in the UK on Channel 4 (a co-production with Discovery US) and I find it amazing that years after starting my career I am still making earth science shows.