Dr Graham Cope

Location: Birmingham
About me...

After a long career as a medical scientist I like to talk in an entertaining and accessible way about my academic interests of smoking and alcohol. In latter years I have been using my medical knowledge to research the history behind the methods and equipment used for surgery on the battlefield during the Napoleonic period and some characters who made this such an interesting time, including the Grand Old Duke of York, who after a few unfortunate military campaigns transformed the lives of the British soldier; one of his many mistresses Mary Anne Clarke who caused his resignation after a major political scandal and Sir John Moore who was a well respected commander but died during the retreat at Corunna.

About my talks...

For my talk I require a screen as I will bring along my own laptop and other artefacts as appropriate.


My fee is normally £80 for a 45-60 minute presentation, depending on geographical location, with travelling expenses of 20p/m if over 20 miles from my base in Birmingham.

If you are a small group, please contact me and we can usually reach a compromise.

My Contact Details:

01214767038 MOBILE:07980497079

1. Smoking – why is it so harmful?

A talk by Public Speaker Dr Graham Cope - Smoking- why is it harmful


Tobacco smoking is dangerous, but why? Burning tobacco creates thousands of different chemicals which damage the delicate linings of the mouth, throat and lungs and enter the blood stream and reach every cell in the body. This talk describes, in simple terms, why the heart, lungs and blood vessels are affected, as well as other parts of the body including the bones and skin. What steps can be taken to reduce the effects of smoking?

2. Electronic cigarettes – good or bad?

1. Electronic cigarette

The use of electronic cigarettes has been one of the most significant changes to public health in recent times. Most people are aware of the harmful effects of tobacco and are looking to alternative, ‘healthier’ forms of nicotine, for use when they cannot smoke or as a means to quit. Many doctors suggest that e-cigs are ‘healthier’ than cigarettes but they do contain many chemicals that have significant effects on health, especially if used long-term.



3. Alcohol – how much is too much?

2. Alcohol

Alcohol is both a tonic and a poison but the difference lies in the dose. Moderate drinking may be good for the heart and circulation and possibly protects against diabetes and gallstones. But heavy and frequent drinking is a major cause of accidents and harmful health effects. What are the dangers, who should be worried and what are the current guidelines and how do you calculate the safe amounts.

4. Antibiotic Resistance – the ‘Ticking Time Bomb’.

A talk by Public Speaker Dr Graham Cole - Antibiotic Resistance. The ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

Antibiotics are the main weapon to treat infections but since the discovery of penicillin bacteria have been evolving to resist their effects. More ‘super bugs’ are emerging, with hospital acquired infections such as MRSA a major problem. Antibiotic resistance has been described as ‘the biggest threat to modern medicine’, but why does it happen and what can be done to prevent the spread of these deadly bugs?


5. Post-polio Syndrome – a hidden menace.

A talk by Dr Graham Cope -  Post-polio Syndrome – a hidden menace.

Post-polio syndrome is a poorly understood condition that can affect people who have had polio in the past. The viral infection was common in the UK in the 40’s and 50’s and called ‘Infantile paralysis’. Many people born in these years are now witnessing paralysis, muscle weakness and shrinking of the muscles. This may be due to infection that they didn’t know about. What can be done to diagnose this syndrome and what can be dine to combat the effects?


Fees for this talk will be donated to the British Polio Fellowship


6. Military surgery during the Napoleonic era

Military Surgery - talkby Graham Cope

The doctors of Britain’s Napoleonic army played a crucial role in the war against France.  Their surgical skills were honed under difficult conditions and without anaesthetics and antibiotics yet the survival rate after amputation was surprisingly good. Their knowledge of disease was rudimentary and consequently the fatality rate was much higher than from injuries. This talk describes the conditions of working, the methods and equipment used and the precautions taken to improve healing.



7. The Grand Old Duke of York – The Soldier’s Friend

4. Duke of York

Prince Frederick, second son of George III was a soldier from an early age. He trained in Germany and at the outbreak of war with France in 1793 was the Commander of the British army in Flanders and Holland from the age of 26 years. Although in the field he was thought by many as a failure he returned to London and over the next thirty years transformed the British soldier into a major force which was good enough to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo.

8. Mary Anne Clarke – A right royal scandal

Mary Anne Clarke

The Duke of York had many mistresses but one, Mary Anne Clarke was the focus of a major scandal when she and the Duke were accused of selling promotions within the army. The background is one of treachery, deceit, political shenanigans and a major enquiry in Parliament which rocked the country for seven weeks and resulted in the resignation of the Duke.



9. Sir John Moore – the hero of Corunna

Sir John Moore

Sir John Moore was an important British General. He joined the army aged fourteen, fought in the American War of Independence, against the French in Corsica and helped developed the Martello Tower. But it his command of the British army in the Peninsular War for which he is best known. Threatened by Napoleon he led the army through atrocious conditions to the coast for evacuation but while holding the French back he was killed by a cannonball and buried in the fortress, prompting the famous poem “Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried”.