Michael Collins.

BBC Radio 4 tonight at 11PM has a New series of Great Lives in which Tim Pat Coogan will help David Puttnam examine “what distinguishes Terrorists from freedom fighters”“On August 22 1922, as the Irish civil war raged, a 31-year-old man was shot dead in an ambush at Beal na mBlath, County Cork. Michael Collins was commander-in-chief of the National Army and – take your pick according to political prejudice – a hero of Irish independence, a traitor to the republican cause or a murdering Fenian terrorist. He had smuggled arms, been elected to the House of Commons, helped run the IRA, created an assassination squad called the Twelve Apostles and played a key part in the settlement that created the Irish Free State. As a fundraiser, he was so successful that Lenin went cap in hand to him after the Russian revolution. He was known as the Big Fellow.

Film producer David Puttnam takes a closer look in a new series of Great Lives (11pm, Radio 4). Historian Tim Pat Coogan will be helping him examine what distinguishes terrorists from freedom fighters.”

Pick of the day

Phil Daoust
Friday October 1, 2004
The Guardian