Airdate: Better Man

2013-06-18_2225In what will hopefully be a bold return to local drama, SBS has announced its airdates for its two part miniseries Better Man.

It will air on two successive Thursdays in late July, early August, strategically slated away from other Aussie dramas and post Tour de France where it can enjoy major network promotion (hopefully no other Programmers feel the urgency to counter-program against it).

This one sounds good, fingers crossed.

In an explosive return to drama for SBS, the network presents Better Man based on the true story of Van Nguyen starring David Wenham (Julian McMahon), Bryan Brown (Lex Lasry), Claudia Karvan (Bernadette McMahon), Jordan Rodrigues (Khoa Nguyen) and introduces exciting new talent Remy Hii (Van Nguyen) and Hien Nguyen (Kim Nguyen). This world-class Australian production is SBS’s first drama in three years.

This compelling story, filmed on location in Australia and Vietnam, looks at the true story of the remarkable life and death of Van Nguyen, a Vietnamese Australian man who was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore and executed for his crime in 2005. His hanging was the first execution of an Australian in Southeast Asia since 1993. Nguyen was only 25 years old.

Written and directed by acclaimed writer, director, actor and former Young Australian of the Year (2005) Khoa Do, it is the powerful depiction of a young man desperately trying to provide for his family, for which he paid the ultimate price. From the troubled upbringing that Van shared with his twin brother, to the gripping and heart-stopping events leading to his arrest in Singapore, Better Man culminates in an extraordinary three-year legal battle led by Lex Lasry and Julian McMahon to save the young man’s life.

Despite all their efforts, along with those of Van’s loved ones, the Australian Prime Minister, a number of state Premiers and two Popes, his life came to a tragic end on 2 December 2005. At the time of Van’s passing, nearly half of Australia wept as the boy known in Changi prison as “the baby of death row” became the last Australian to be executed.

Better Man is a FremantleMedia Australia production made in association with Bravado Productions for SBS. With a heavy-weight production team consisting of executive producer Jason Stephens (Devil’s Dust, Killing Time, Mr & Mrs Murder), producers Stephen Corvini (Devil’s Dust and Mercury) and John Wild (Killing Time, Flying Doctors, My Brother Tom), Better Man is poignant portrayal of a young man’s life and questions how far one would go for the love of their family.

Part One – Thursday 25 July, 8.30pm, SBS ONE
Part Two – Thursday 1 August, 8.30pm, SBS ONE


  1. With a very inexperienced writer/director this series could either be brilliant or an under baked lost opportunity. This auteur model is high risk and rarely used in TV unless the writer/director has a really impressive track record. And “nicks” SBS didn’t put all the money in. It gets the Producer Offset tax rebate of 20% and Screen Australia invested in it. Let’s hope SBS has more money for local drama.

  2. Pretty ambitious undertaking for Sbs.Being just a 2 part series,would there be any market for outside sales?Or if nothing’s been announced so far,would that be a troubling indication that nothing is happening on that front?I’m happy for Sbs in the artistic sense,but wonder how it could work out financially.

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