Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta makes solid debut

Excellent doco series Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta performed very well for SBS on Sunday night.

The first of three episodes pulled 626,000 -higher than the 524,000 viewers who watched the first episode of Go Back to Where You Came From last year.

The SBS doco was second in its timeslot, beaten only by ABC1’s Bran Nue Dae on 666,000. It even beat the offerings on Seven, Nine and TEN. Impressive stuff.

A Vietnamese subtitled version of the series simulcast nationally on SBS TWO received a 41,000 viewers.

SBS managed a 10.2% share for Sunday night, its best figure in a long time. The first episode of the series is the third highest rating overnight program for SBS in the last 12 months (topped only by the Tour de France in July 2011).

#onceuponatimeSBS was also trending #2 worldwide on Twitter during the broadcast.

Part Two airs at 8:30pm on Sunday.


  1. Just want to congratulate all concerned with this terrific doco, especially the Hoang family and Tony who found his way finally from gaol and drugs to being a pastor, and the other family where the father tried so hard to help his only child, finally having to buy drugs and wean him off them at home. Hope they have all found happiness and a drug-free life – they made me feel very humble and also very proud to have them here in Oz. It was a wonderful program and I cried with these families while watching it.

  2. Cookie, I also watched the first episode through SBS On Demand & the only Pauline Hanson footage they seemed to use was in the first five minutes, as an overview of the entire series. Seemed all in order to me…

    I agree with Roger about the narration being a little over the top, but overall this program is another fine history lesson from SBS. Four stars!

  3. @ Roger – hmmmmm. I see so many kids fluently speaking both…but maybe you are right… You are definitely right about the over-dramatised narration. More the words than probably Tara Morice’s (Strictly Ballroom) delivery. Or maybe it was both? Nevertheless very OTT. I will be back for Ep 2 however.

  4. @Cookie: Some brains can only handle one language. I was brought up speaking Chinese, but as soon as school started, the English began to take over. By the time I was in my teens, I was having quite a bit of difficulty communicating with my parents.

    Found myself relating to a lot of the generational struggles expressed. One complaint though, the narrating was a bit over the top, rather sensationalistic at times.

  5. Moanique in Brisbane

    p.s I was particularly surprised at the fact that in some Vietnamese families, the parents don’t speak English and the children don’t speak Vietnamese, so they have a lot of trouble communicating. I had never even thought about that before.

  6. Great to hear – but what I found to be the strangest piece of information in the show was from the Hoang son, who claimed that (even though he grew up in a family who all spoke Vietnamese at home all the time) he did not speak Vietnamese. I just don’t understand how this can happen when he would have grown up in this Vietnamese speaking household..He wasn’t adopted into it. English wasn’t his first language. Whether he learned English outside the home (at school etc) or not, surely he would have spoken Vietnamese at home from a very early age. Go figure!!!!!!
    There was also a very odd piece of off juxtapositioning of dates and eras… Pauline Hanson’s famous line about “Asians”overtaking Australia was used at the beginning of this show, which was talking about things that happened circa 1969/70. Pauline didn’t even appear on the scene for some 30 years. So she had nothing to do with that time or politics or community feeling…Another go figure!!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.