Tusitala (miniseries)

Tusitala is a 1986 three-part mini series for television based on the last years in the life of Robert Louis Stevenson, when he left Great Britain for Sydney and west Samoa.[1][2]

Written byPeter Yeldham
Directed byDon Sharp
StarringJohn McEnery
Angela Punch McGregor
Country of originAustralia
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6
Producer(s)Ray Alchin
Production location(s)Australia
West Samoa
Production company(s)Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Original networkABC (Australia)
Channel 4 (UK)
Picture format4:3
Audio formatMono
Original release15 June 1986

Samoa Connection

In the Samoan language Tusitala means writer of stories and it is there that Robert Louis Stevenson spent his last four year. He was buried there at Mount Vaea.[3]


  • John McEnery as Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Angela Punch McGregor
  • Kirk Alexander as Henley
  • Dorothy Alison as Maggie
  • Norman Kaye as Rev. Clarke
  • Lynn Dalby as Almelia Clarke
  • Joseph Fürst as Von Pilsarch
  • John Hamblin as Dr. Eisler
  • Olivia Hamnett as Lady Jersey


There had been plans to film this in the 1960s by Cinesound Productions.[4]

In 1983 producer Ray Alchin announced Ted Roberts would be the writer. The ABC deliberately aimed at an international co production. "We're branching out with an international figure," said Alchin.[5]

The budget was $5 million.[6]

Filming started June 1985 by which stage the writer had become Peter Yeldham.[7]


  1. "Tusitala-"the Teller of Tales": Part 3". explore.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  2. "Aunty dares to be scandalous". The Canberra Times. 60, (18, 352). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 30 December 1985. p. 17. Retrieved 24 July 2019 via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. "Tusitala (1986)". nway101.com. Archived from the original on 11 April 2013. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  4. Pike, Andrew Franklin. "The History of an Australian Film Production Company: Cinesound, 1932-70" (PDF). Australian National University. p. 216.
  5. "Another Big Budget ABC Series". Sydney Morning herald. 15 May 1983. p. 59.
  6. Ed. Scott Murray, Australia on the Small Screen 1970-1995, Oxford University Press, 1996 p245
  7. "Million Dollar Myth". Sydney Morning Herald. 10 March 1985. p. 59.

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