Talk Catalogue

Online Events Covering Everything From Gardening and Travel to History and Show Business

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Featured Talks

How to Make Money out of Murder: Writing a Crime Thriller Novel

Talk Description and preview

Sally shares her secret for writing the perfect crime thriller! Discover how writers get their ideas, the best way of writing a novel and what it's like working with a publisher. Hear extracts from Sally's psychological thriller, The Promise, and be privy to Sally's favourite murder weapons.

Talk length - 50 minutes.

Sally Jenkins

Sally Jenkins is a writer and public speaker. She is the author or two psychological thrillers and many short stories and articles. Sally is a members of Sutton Coldfield Speakers Club and in 2018 represented the Midlands at the national final of the Association of Speakers Clubs speech competition.

John Dudley and the Nine Days Queen

Talk Description and preview

Was John Dudley Duke of Northumberland the acquisitive tactician that historians have made him out to be?  A man who put the unfortunate, tragic and undoubtedly unwilling sixteen year old Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England for nine days back in the 16th century. It all ended in tears and lost heads, but was John Dudley the power crazy, grasping schemer that historians would have us believe. 

Talk length - 45 minutes.

Dianne Mannering

Dianne Mannering's original talks were based round the royal and noble characters in her two history books. Dianne is a very popular and well respected speaker.

Lake District: A Celebration and a Warning

Talk Description and preview

A celebration of a unique landscape and its place in our national consciousness from William Wordsworth to Alfred Wainwright. It is also a warning of challenges ahead, from climate change to Brexit. It concludes with a 'year' in the Lake District in pictures taken over fifty years!

Talk length - 49 minutes.

Chris Forse

Chris Forse is a retired teacher and administrator who spent 33 years in Hong Kong where he was also a sometime columnist and radio panel guest. He has travelled widely and globally and enjoys travel photography and self-publishing. He is chairman of a large U3A in the Midlands.

Tales from the times of the British Raj

Talk Description and preview

A light-hearted, different and enlightening view of the British Raj seen through the eyes of intrepid Parsi women who lived and flourished in it. This talk is based on Rukshana’s great-great grandmother’s autobiography and includes a brief history of the Parsis, along with many little known facts from the Raj, making it an informative and educational, though amusing, talk.


Talk length - 40 minutes.

Rukshana Masters

Rukshana was brought up in India soon after the days of the British Raj. She trained as a fashion designer and came to live in England with her husband in the 70s. In their spare time, along with their two young sons, Rukshana and her husband restored a ruin in rural France and had such a hilarious time! Rukshana felt she had to write it down, publishing her autobiography ‘A sparkling adventure through life on the bright side.’ More recently, Rukshana has discovered the stories her great-great grandmother collated in 1911 about her life living under the British Raj. She has turned her wonderful history into a biography called ‘A Cap for the King’.

50 Years in TV

Talk Description and Preview

A Glorious gallop through descriptions of TV programmes such as Corrie, Emmerdale, Last of the Summer Wine, Royle Family and many others in which Jim has appeared. Entertaining and informative, delivered with wit and panache. The talk is given in a humorous and friendly manner.

Talk length - 38 minutes.

Jim Whelan

Jim was born into poverty during the second world war and has always followed his dream. Jim worked with Rod Steiger, Anthony Perkins, David Tennant, Jeremy Brett, Ray Winstone and American Superstar Rob Lowe. Having appeared in Coronation Street in every Decade that it has existed, Jim has filmed more than 50 episodes. From the back streets of Salford to sharing studio space with stars like Caroline Ahern has been a joy.

Food of the Gods – A History of Our Love Affair with Chocolate

Talk Description and preview

The Aztecs believed cocoa seeds were a gift from the god of wisdom. The Spanish took the bean back to Spain in 1528. By the 1550's chocolate had arrived in England and the first Chocolate House opened in 1657. The Quakers were instrumental in making it popular, the Swiss refined it; and now we can’t seem to do without it! The god of wisdom gave us chocolate – I’m not sure if it was a wise move!

Talk length - 36 minutes.

Sandy Leong

Sandy Leong is an historian, passionate about bringing history to life and is a lively and entertaining speaker. She has a popular series of entertaining, light hearted talks on general historical subjects. However she specialises in the Tudors, an exciting time in the country as it was changing fast; and in the Viking period, who are much more than the stereotype of raiders in horned helmets. She is an international, professional speaker, and published author.

Poisons for Medicine

Talk Description and preview

A darkly humorous look at medicine in the 19th Century. The reign of Victoria saw the development of chemical medicine from medieval-style alchemy to modern pharmacy. Chemists lent their ingenuity to attempt to provide any cure their customers wanted. Some made fortunes, some made disastrous mistakes. As the speaker points out, our recent forebears must have had incredibly strong constitutions to have survived the lethal doses of over-the-counter poisons blatantly advertised as cure-alls. The talk leaves you amused and stunned in equal measure.

Talk length - 41 minutes.

Graham Harrison

Graham Harrison (aka Sun Jester) has been working in history and heritage education for more than 20 years, delivering fun and informative talks and entertainments for all ages.

A Toastmaster's Tale 

Talk Description and preview

Geoff is one of the country’s leading Toastmasters, working in venues all over the UK and abroad. However, in this insightful, informative and hilarious talk Geoff lifts the lid off the world of formal events in his own inimitable style. Just what did the Prince of Wales have to do with the introduction of the red coat? How fast did the Alderman’s funeral cortege go? Did the bridegroom really say that? The answer to these questions and many, many more are answered at breakneck speed in this witty, funny, brilliantly presented talk. Not to be missed.

Talk length - 44 minutes.

Geoff Harris

Geoff Harris started working as a teacher and taught in a variety of secondary schools all over the UK for ten tears before giving it all up and becoming a clown. Really, that is what he did. The clowning led onto other performance areas and he has been seen on a variety of stages and screens ever since. Ten plus years ago he started to train as a Toastmaster and is now a Fellow of the National Association of Toastmasters, working in some of the grandest hotels and houses in the country.

Zeppelin - Ship of Dreams

Talk Description and preview

Count Zeppelin always saw his airships as a means of transport as well as a weapon. In this talk we look at the heyday of travel in these huge craft. We will see how the Graf Zeppelin and the Hindenburg provided luxurious travel across the Atlantic. How they were built and flown and what it was like to fly on the magnificent but dangerous craft.

Talk length - 41 minutes.

David Skillen

David Skillen is an engaging and animated professional speaker on a variety of historical subjects. During his 35 years in the Civil Service he ran training programmes on public speaking and spoke to audiences from 5 to 500 people. Since retiring five years ago David has travelled extensively across the UK giving fully illustrated talks to a variety of groups such as, Probus, WI, National Trust, Local History Groups and U3A.

Big Ben

Talk Description and preview

Tim will describe the background into the building of the Elizabeth Tower – Big Ben – before escorting us up the 334 spiral stairs. As we climb, Tim will take us behind one of those beautiful clock faces; he’ll introduce us to the magnificent example of Victorian engineering that is the clock mechanism; before finally taking us to the belfry where we will stand in front of Big Ben, the most famous bell in the world.

Talk length - 41 minutes.

Tim Redmond

Following his retirement in 2006 from the Metropolitan police, Tim became a personal tour guide, providing day-long tours of London and other popular UK tourism spots. In 2008, he began working within parliament, primarily undertaking tours within the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben). Before the Elizabeth Tower closed at the end of 2016, Tim took about 135,000 UK residents on tours of the tower, in addition to VIPs such as Michelle Obama and Bill Gates! He has since been a speaker, specialising in PowerPoint virtual tours within Big Ben.

Boobies and Noddies: Birds of Ascension Island

Talk Description and preview

Ascension Island is a remote military base in the tropical Atlantic. On this island, the seabirds are magical with little fear of people. With the aid of stunning images, Dr John Hughes tell stories of the island’s history, its seabirds, the introduced land birds, and the marine environment.


Talk length - 42 minutes.

Dr John Hughes

John was a professional soldier and travelled the world. He has a passion for birds and lifelong learning. He achieved a PhD aged 69. John is married with 5 children and lives in Hampshire.

A Tibetan Journey

Talk Description and preview

After working with the Tibet Society for many years and now Vice President, the speaker gives a brief outline of Tibetan history, religion and culture. His trip to Tibet in 1994 is highlighted with his own photographs and tales of his experiences.

Talk length - 44 minutes.

Alan Clements

Alan Clements - A speaker on Gardening subjects and travels in Tibet. Vice President of the Tibet Society and Relief Fund working on charity projects in India. Always a keen gardener having developed Cascades Gardens, the Meditation garden in Bonsall, Matlock,Derbyshire. Open to the public see www.cascadesgardens.com and blog www.gardenforwellbeing.com

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