Talks & Presentations

Tim presenting a lecture at London's famous Royal Institution

Tim presenting a lecture at London’s famous Royal Institution

Tim is an experienced public speaker and is happy to give talks and lectures on anything he’s interested in, to just about any audience (he likes a challenge). Below are examples of talks in Tim’s regular repertoire, which can be adjusted for a particular audience or time-slot.

The Flea Circus

The Smallest Show on Earth

Flea circus talk by Tim Cockerill

What’s it about? Roll up and see the world-famous performing fleas! For over 150 years, audiences have been paying their sixpences to be amazed by whole troupes of real, live, performing fleas. Believe it, or not?

In this talk, Tim Cockerill will persuade you that the flea circus, until recently, was a 100% genuine spectacle, made up of live fleas pulling chariots, riding tricycles and even fighting duels with perfectly crafted miniature swords. Find out how the Flea Circus ‘Professors’ fed their fleas, which household appliance spelled the demise of the Flea Circus in the 1950s, and how a flea could make a Victorian lady take all of her clothes off.

How long does it last? Up to 1 hour

Who is it for? Fun for all ages!

Features rare images and footage from Tim’s Flea Circus collection. If exhibition space is available, ephemera and artefacts can be placed on display, including rare Mexican Dressed Fleas and the props from a genuine flea circus.

The talk has appeared at London’s Natural History Museum, the Grant Museum of Zoology, The Royal Institution, The Congress for Curious People, and other venues around the UK.


Hot Stuff!

How to eat fire and survive

Fire eating talk

A talk on the history and techniques of fire eaters, with a live demonstration of how to eat fire and survive! Packed with rare images and footage from Tim’s collection. Contact Tim for more details.

This talk has featured at the Showzam! festival of circus and variety, the conference of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, The Northern Magic Circle Convention, The Hull Magicians’ Circle, and other venues around the UK. In venues where a live demonstration of fire eating is an absolute no-no, there is a video version of this section (although there’s nothing quite like the real thing).


 In The Jungle

(the mighty jungle)

Borneo beetleWhat’s it about? A versatile talk on Tim’s experiences working in the Bornean rainforest, home to the orangutan, the pygmy elephant and (more importantly) some of the world’s most impressive insects, spiders and other invertebrates. Tim covers everything from running scientific research projects and discovering new species, to making TV programmes with Sir David Attenborough.

The talk is packed with stunning photography of rainforest creatures and can include props and exhibits such as specimens of some of the world’s largest insects, a jar of blood-sucking leeches, and a sample of the world’s smelliest fruit. A selection of Tim’s field recordings is presented as a guess-the-animal sound quiz that will have even the most expert of animal enthusiasts scratching their heads.

Tim has conducted research projects in oil-palm plantations, a type of intensive agriculture that is threatening rain forests worldwide but whose end product is used by us all. After the presentation Tim can lead an open discussion or question and answer session on the conservation of biodiverse habitats worldwide.

How long does it last? Up to 1 hour

Who is it for? If the audience has a particular scientific interest or specialism, Tim can go into more detail in a particular area or pitch the presentation at a generalist or specialist level. All audiences from primary school children to professional scientists can be catered for!

This talk has featured at London’s Natural History Museum, The University of Cambridge, and in schools and other venues around the UK.