"The Thorn Birds", based on Colleen Mc Cullough's best-selling epic novel takes place in the Australia of the 1920's and stretches across three generations to the 1960's and tells the story of a life-long romance between an ambitious priest (Chamberlain) and the woman who only wanted his love.
Rachel Ward is a beautiful rose as Meggie, Richard Chamberlain is an ideal Ralph de Bricassart and Barbara Stanwyk is at her best as Mary Carson, Meggie's aunt, the richest yet loneliest woman in Australia.
Actually taking place in the middle of the original Thorn Birds miniseries, which chronicled the love affair of Meggie Cleary and Fr.
Mc Cullough has travelled to Britain from her Norfolk Island home to put the finishing touches on the musical that she has been working on for the past 15 years.
“I thought he would be much more interesting if he really did have a true vocation in the church, if he really did want the power, and if he really did love Meggie with all his heart,” Chamberlain explained. The two, who played Father Ralph de Bricassart and the woman who got between him and the church – Meggie Cleary – hadn’t seen each other in years, having just one short encounter in an airport at all beyond filming the show.
“We did run into each other very briefly in an airport in Thailand,” Richard said at the “Pioneers of Television” Season 3 presentation during the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association summer tour in Beverly Hills.
"Ward couldn't act her way out of a paper bag and Chamberlain wandered about all wet and wide-eyed.
"The filming was done in Hawaii, there was only one kangaroo on the set and everyone sounded American except Bryan Brown, whose Oz accent stuck out like a dingo's bits." Mc Cullough released novel, an epic love story of a Catholic priest and a woman in the Australian outback, in 1977.
She said while the 1983 TV version, which starred Bryan Brown, Rachel Ward and Richard Chamberlain, was a ratings hit, she never liked it.