The Met Office single-column model is used to examine the development phase of the diurnal cycle of tropical convection over land by comparing against previous results from an idealized cloud-resolving model study. Changing the deep convective parametrization over land to make the entrainment vary with the height of the lifting condensation level reduces the depth of the convection early in the day. The changes made to improve the early phase of diurnal cycle over land are tested in an atmosphere-only version of the Met Office Hadley Centre climate model and result in an improvement in the amplitude and timing of the diurnal peak in precipitation over land. Copyright © 2011 British Crown copyright, the Met Office. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.