A History of the World in Spy Objects is a new series from Spyscape Studios hosted by historian, TV presenter, author and social media star Alice Loxton.
The podcast invites artists, historians, writers, actors, cultural commentators and designers to tell secret stories about the fascinating items that changed our world… often without us even knowing.
As the extraordinary stories unfold, a hidden history of the world itself emerges from the fiercely guarded vaults of the world’s leading intelligence communities.
Guests include historian Dan Snow who chooses the Prime Minister’s Despatch Box, actor Jason Isaacs focuses on the infamous B2 Stealth Bomber, Daniel Arsham picks ‘Number 8’ by Jackson Pollock and technological historian Elizabeth Bruton picks the tools used by the Portland Spy Ring.
There’s also London Routemaster bus designer Thomas Heatherwick who discusses the infamous Bulgarian poison-tipped umbrella, acclaimed industrial designer Marc Newson who details the creation of the Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, while Police drummer Stewart Copeland talks about the trumpet played by his father – Miles Copeland – the CIA’s man in the Middle East between 1947 and 1957.
An accompanying video series sees host Alice get her hands on various items including Napoleon’s briefcase (used for daily intelligence reports from his codebreakers and agents), a rare secret RAF button compass, one of WWII’s legendary Enigma machines and a biographical manuscript penned by infamous spy Kim Philby that sheds new light on his early life.
Also illustrating how the technology and psychology of spy craft influences our daily lives, other contributors include fashion design icon Manya Kullmann, ‘Alex Rider’ author Anthony Horowitz, conceptual artist Trevor Paglen and bestselling author Jung Chang.
A History of the World in Spy Objects is available now for Spyscape+ subscribers and on general release from 15 November.