In Series 2 of Conflict of Interest, celebrities ask the simple questions about the world’s most complex conflicts from the Cold War-era. Who was fighting in Vietnam? What was the Malayan Emergency? Why is Korea divided between North and South? Guided by an IWM curator, each celebrity is taken on a journey through IWM London and HMS Belfast, discovering the objects, people and stories which bring a conflict to life.

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Conflict of Interest | Series Two

S2 E1: The Berlin Wall, with Russell Tovey

The Berlin Wall was one of the most important symbols of the Cold War, signifying the division of Europe into communist East and capitalist West.

But why was the Wall built? How did it affect the lives of ordinary Berliners? And how did it come crashing down in 1989? 

In this episode we were joined by actor Russell Tovey alongside IWM Curator Paris Agar, eyewitness John Kampfner and KCL Lecturer Katrin Schreiter.

S2 E2: The Malayan Emergency, with Phil Wang

Few are aware of the secretive conflict that took place in the jungles of Malaysia in the 1940s and 1950s between British colonial forces and communist guerillas. So what tactics were used by both sides? Why was it called an Emergency and not a War? What happened to ordinary civilians caught in the crossfire? And why did this conflict become so important for future counterinsurgency campaigns? 

In this episode we were joined by stand up comedian Phil Wang, IWM expert Rio Creech and historian Karl Hack.

S2 E3: Mau Mau Uprising, with Nikita Gill

The Mau Mau Uprising was another lesser-known conflict that took place during the end of the British Empire between Kenyan insurgents and British forces. We ask questions like, What does Mau Mau actually mean? What happened in Britain’s detention camps? What was decolonisation? And what is the legacy of the conflict today? 

In this episode we were joined by renowned poet and writer Nikita Gill, alongside IWM expert Niels Boender, historian John Lonsdale and researcher Rose Miyonga.

This episode contains references to racism and sexual violence in conflict. Some listeners may find descriptions distressing.

S2 E4: The Korean War, with Eddie Izzard

Why is Korea divided between North and South? Who was Kim Jong Un’s grandfather Kim Il Sun, and what did he want? Why did the United Nations intervene in Korea? And did the Korean War really almost go nuclear?

In this episode we were joined by celebrated stand up comedian, writer, actor and activist Eddie Izzard, in a special recording that took place on the ship HMS Belfast. Our experts were IWM Curator Hilary Roberts, veteran Brian Parritt and SOAS Professor Owen Miller.

S2 E5: The Vietnam War, with Cerys Matthews

The Vietnam War is one of the twentieth century’s most well-known conflicts. It has become a buzzword for military failure, synonymous with the most horrific aspects of irregular warfare between states and guerilla forces, and has had a profound impact on politics and popular culture in the United States and around the world.

But why did America get involved in the first place? Who were the Viet Cong and the Viet Minh? Why were there mass peace protests back in the US? And what lessons, if any, can be learned from the conflict? 

In this episode we were joined by Cerys Matthews - singer, songwriter, author, and BBC Radio 6 broadcaster, alongside IWM Curator, conflict eyewitness Phan Thi Kim Phuc, and renowned photographer Don McCullin.

S2 E6: The Falklands Conflict, With Katherine Parkinson

1982 saw the start of the Falklands Conflict. But why did the United Kingdom, steered by Margaret Thatcher, send its Navy to defend the Falklands, a tiny group of islands over 8,000 miles from Britain? Why were the islands so important to Argentina and its government? And what are the prospects for reconciliation forty years later?

In this episode we were joined by actor Katherine Parkinson together with IWM expert John Beales, historian Helen Parr and veteran Richard Gough.

S2 E7: Ukraine, with Sophie Duker

What is the history behind the devastating war in Ukraine, and how did it all begin? Recorded in August 2022, this special episode of Conflict of Interest explores Ukraine’s recent past, from the collapse of the Soviet Union to Russia’s annexation of Crimea with guests including comedian Sophie Duker, Ukrainian journalist, expert and activist Olga Tokariuk, academic and historian Samir Puri and senior IWM curator Carl Warner.

Series two: celebrity guests

Meet the celebrity guests of Conflict of Interest series two. 

  • Berlin Wall - Russell Tovey

    Episode 1: Russell Tovey

    Actor Russell Tovey joins IWM curator Paris Agar, conflict expert Dr Katrin Schreiter and eyewitness John Kampfner to explore the history of the Berlin Wall with

  • Episode 2 - Malayan Emergency - Phil Wang

    Episode 2: Phil Wang

    Comedian Phil Wang joins IWM expert Rio Creech and conflict historian Karl Hack to makes sense of the Malayan Emergency. 

  • Nikita Gill - Conflict of Interest

    Episode 3: Nikita Gill

    Poet & author Nikita Gill joins IWM expert Niels Boender, historian John Lonsdale & PhD Researcher Rose Miyonga to look at the Mau Mau Uprising.

  • Episode 4 - Eddie Izzard - Korean War

    Episode 4: Eddie Izzard

    Comedian & activist Eddie Izzard joins IWM Curator Hilary Roberts, expert Owen Miller and conflict eyewitness Brian Parritt on board HMS Belfast to get to grips with the Korean War.

  • Episode 5: Cerys Matthews

    Singer & radio host Cerys Matthews joins conflict eyewitness Phan Thi Kim Phuc, renowned photographer Don McCullin and IWM Curator Hilary Roberts to make sense of the Vietnam War.

  • Katherine Parkinson

    Episode 6: Katherine Parkinson

    Actor Katherine Parkinson joins historian Helen Parr, IWM expert John Beales and Royal Navy veteran Richard Gough to unpack the Falklands War.

  • Image of comedian Sophie Duker

    Episode 7: Sophie Duker

    Comedian Sophie Duker joins Ukrainian journalist, expert and activist Olga Tokariuk, academic and historian Samir Puri and IWM curator Carl Warner to understand the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Conflict of Interest Series Two is kindly supported by the Swire Charitable Trust.

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