Alison Martin recalls the TV series starring Brendan Gleeson that first aired on RTÉ in December 1991.
Over the years, Michael Collins has been depicted in various television dramas and films. The Treaty has received relatively little attention in comparison to some of the larger scale productions such as Neil Jordan’s 1996 biopic Michael Collins.
When it was first broadcast on RTÉ in December 1991, however, The Treaty received overwhelmingly positive reviews and was praised for its accurate depiction of historical events. It was Roger Bolton, an experienced TV producer with a proven record of dealing with Irish issues, who originally came up with the idea of making a programme about the negotiations that had led to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921.
Bolton later stated that he had originally wanted to make a drama but ‘was prepared to fall back on documentary’. The director, Jonathan Lewis, on the other hand, claimed that he had initially been approached by Bolton to make a documentary. However, due to the lack of archive film or surviving participants, he had come up with the idea of turning it into a drama.