Tristram was born in Bath, Sommerset, England in 1966. His career in British television production started with the series "Drop the Dead Donkey" working as an audience coordinator. He continued working behind the scenes in various production jobs before finally making his debut as director in the series "Smack the Pony". He worked in the U.K. for nearly a decade as a director until he moved to the U.S. in July 2009 to work on American sitcoms. In July 2010, Tristram was recognized for his work in television when he received an honorary DLitt (Doctor of Letters) award from Bath Spa University.