A short biography
Vernon Coleman qualified as a doctor in 1970 and has worked both in hospitals and as a GP. He has founded and organised many campaigns concerning iatrogenesis, drug addiction and the abuse of animals and has given evidence to committees at the House of Commons and House of Lords. Dr Coleman’s campaigns have often proved successful. For example, after a 15 year campaign (which started in 1973) he eventually persuaded the British Government to introduce stricter controls governing the prescribing of benzodiazepine tranquillisers. ‘Dr Vernon Coleman’s articles, to which I refer with approval, raised concern about these important matters,’ said the Parliamentary Secretary for Health in the House of Commons in 1988.
He has worked as a columnist for numerous national newspapers including The Sun, The Daily Star, The Sunday Express, Sunday Correspondent and The People and has written columns for over 50 regional newspapers. His columns and articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world. He has contributed articles to hundreds of other publications including The Sunday Times, Observer, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Punch, Woman, Woman’s Own, The Lady, Spectator and British Medical Journal. He was the founding editor of the British Clinical Journal. He was for some years one of the highest paid columnists in Britain.
He has presented numerous programmes on television and radio and was the original breakfast television doctor. He was television’s first agony uncle (on BBC1’s The Afternoon Show). He has presented three TV series based on his bestselling book Bodypower. In the now long-gone days when producers and editors were less wary of annoying the establishment he was a regular broadcaster on radio and television.
His books have been published in the UK by Arrow, Pan, Penguin, Corgi, Mandarin, Star, Piatkus, RKP, Thames and Hudson, Sidgwick and Jackson, Macmillan and many other leading publishing houses. His books have been translated into 25 languages, and English versions sell in America, Australia, Canada and South Africa as well as the UK. Several have appeared on both the Sunday Times and Bookseller bestseller lists. He has written over 100 books which have, together, sold over two million copies in the UK alone. His novel Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War has been filmed and is, like many of his other novels, available in an audio version and a large print version. He has co-written five books with his wife, Donna Antoinette Coleman.
He has never had a proper job (in the sense of working for someone else in regular, paid employment, with a cheque or pay packet at the end of the week or month) but he has had freelance and temporary employment in many forms. He has, for example, had paid employment as: magician’s assistant, postman, fish delivery van driver, production line worker, chemical laboratory assistant, author, publisher, draughtsman, meals on wheels driver, feature writer, drama critic, book reviewer, columnist, surgeon, police surgeon, industrial medical officer, social worker, nightclub operator, property developer, magazine editor, general practitioner, private doctor, television presenter, radio presenter, agony aunt, university lecturer, casualty doctor and care home assistant. Much to his (and probably also to their) surprise, he has given evidence to committees in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Whether they took any notice of what he had to say is doubtful. They did not fall asleep. He was for some years a Professor of Holistic Medical Sciences at the Open International University based in Sri Lanka.
Today, he likes books, films, cafés and writing. He writes, reads and collects books and has a larger library than most towns. A list of his favourite authors would require another book. He has never been much of an athlete, though he once won a certificate for swimming a width of the public baths in Walsall (which was, at the time, in Staffordshire but has now, apparently, been moved elsewhere) and later acquired a certificate (long since lost) for completing a swim of one mile for charity. (He finished long after everyone else had gone home.)
He doesn’t like yappy dogs, big snarly dogs with saliva dripping from their fangs or people who think that wearing a uniform automatically gives them status and rights over everyone else. He likes trains, dislikes planes and used to like cars until idiots invented speed cameras, bus lanes and car parks where the spaces are so narrow that only the slimmest of vehicles will fit in.
He is inordinately fond of cats, likes pens and notebooks and used to enjoy watching cricket until the authorities sold out and allowed people to paint slogans on the grass. His interests include animals, photography, drawing, chess, backgammon, cinema, philately, billiards, sitting in cafés and on benches and collecting Napoleana and old books that were written and published before dustwrappers were invented. He likes log fires and bonfires, motor racing and music by Beethoven, Mozart and Mahler and dislikes politicians, bureaucrats and cauliflower cheese. His favourite 12 people in history include (in no particular order): Daniel Defoe, Che Guevara, Napoleon Bonaparte, W. G. Grace, William Cobbett, Thomas Paine, John Lilburne, Aphra Behn, P. G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome, Francis Drake and Walter Ralegh all of whom had more than it takes and most of whom were English. What an unbeatable team they would have made. Grace and Bonaparte opening the batting and Drake and Ralegh opening the bowling. Gilles Villeneuve would bring on the drinks, though would probably spill more than he delivered.
Vernon Coleman is domiciled in the delightful if isolated village of Bilbury in Devon, England and enjoys malt whisky, toasted muffins and old films. He is devoted to Donna Antoinette, the Welsh Princess, who is the kindest, sweetest, most loving, loyal and sensitive woman a man could hope to meet and who, as an undeserved but welcome bonus, makes the very best roast parsnips on the planet. He says that gourmands and gourmets would come from far and wide if they knew what they were missing.