The Thorn Birds is a love story at its center, and at the center of the love story is the forbidden desire that is the thorn in the breasts of the central characters.
The love between Father Ralph de Bricassart and Meggie Cleary is a passion that builds over the span of many years. Father Ralph wants above all else to be a perfect priest; to offer to God his perfect love. Meggie Cleary hates God, because she loves and longs to possess Father de Bricassart.
It was inevitable that Hollywood would leap to turn The Thorn Birds into a movie. Robert Redford, then at his box office peak, was asked to play Father Ralph. But after years of writing and rewriting, the movie was abandoned.
Instead, The Thorn Birds was made as a TV miniseries, produced by Warner Bros. for ABC. Many of us have seen The Thorn Birds; those who have seen it see it more than once. When The Thorn Birds first aired in 1983, its ratings were astronomical. Incredibly, one airline showed it during flights on the evenings it was broadcast so that no one would miss an episode. It was ten hours long, spread over five nights.
This is the story of the making of The Thorn Birds, told by the brilliant Hollywood giants who made it.