SBS announced today that it has commissioned its first drama series in three years.
Better Man is a four part mini-series on the true story of Van Nguyen; a Vietnamese Australian man who was convicted of drug trafficking in Singapore and executed in 2005.
His hanging was the first execution of an Australian in Southeast Asia since 1993. Nguyen was 25-years-old.
At the time, the Australian government was criticised for not doing enough for Nguyen, despite state and federal pleas for clemency.
Then Federal health minister in the Howard government, Tony Abbott said the punishment "certainly did not fit the crime.... but people do need to understand that drug trafficking is a very serious offence".
His case divided Australian opinions on the death penalty.
An opinion poll showed 47% of Australians believed he should be executed, 46% said the death penalty should not be carried out.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said Better Man is an example of the sort of compelling content that SBS can create with sustainable funding.
“Whilst our unprecedented Federal Budget funding boost is largely addressing the challenges we've faced in a changing media landscape, it has also enabled us to get back into the business of drama programming which our audiences know when we do it, we do it well,” Mr Ebeid said.
Better Man is the first commission for Tony Iffland, SBS's Director of TV and Online Content.
“It is a uniquely Australian story and one that only SBS would tell. SBS is proud to support this production which underlines our commitment to making the very best home-grown programming for all Australians,” Mr Iffland said.
Better Man is written and directed by writer, director, actor and teacher Khoa Do and is a FremantleMedia Australia production in association with Bravado Productions for SBS.
Production commences in October and will be filmed in Melbourne and Vietnam and broadcasted on SBS ONE next year.