Ted Roberts began his career in television in the 1960s, writing early episodes of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. The series was screened in over eighty countries and its theme tune, composed by Eric Jupp, is one of the best known and most recognisable Australian tunes. The long version (the B side on the 45rpm record) has lyrics by Ted Roberts.
Ted Roberts' other television credits include major Australian television series: Homicide (Seven Network, 1964–1976), Certain Women (ABC, 1973–1976), Rush (ABC 1974–1976), Patrol Boat (ABC 1979–1980), Just Us (telemovie, 1986, Seven Network), Water Rats (Nine Network, 1996–2001), A Country Practice, Blue Heelers, Mission Impossible and Star Trek.
His film credits include Bush Christmas, which starred Nicole Kidman in her first film, playing "one of three children searching for a stolen racehorse... The 1983 film, directed by Henri Safran, gives us a skinny, pink-cheeked, abundantly plainted Nicole, many moments of good humour, some fine location shots filmed in Queensland's Lamington Plateau, and music from band the Bushwackers."
His death on 23 February 2015 was announced two days later in a press release by the Australian Writers Guild.
He won four Australian Awgies and a Henry Lawson Festival Award for his writing, and received AFI and Logie nominations. He won the 1974 Australian Writers' Guild in the Original Television Drama Category for Three Men of the City. He was also winner of the Henry Lawson prize (for the TV miniseries Lindsay's Boy (ABC, 1974). In 2003 he was awarded the prestigious Richard Lane Award by the Australian Writers' Guild for Services to the Australian Writers' Guild.
One of his first songs (1965) was "Bound for Hobart Town" with music by S.E. Libaek. Recorded by Leonard Teale and Andy Sundstrom on CBS. The song celebrates the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race for the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
In come the dollars and in come the cents
To replace the pounds and the shillings and the pence
Be prepared for change when the coins begin to mix
On the fourteenth of February 1966.
Clink go the coins, clink, clink, clink
Change over day is closer than you think
Learn the value of the coins and the way that they appear
And things will be much smoother when the decimal point is here.
In 1968, he composed My Pal Skippy to music by Eric Jupp.
- The Amorous Dentist (1983)
Ted Roberts is survived by his three adult children (Matthew, Melissa and Dan), five grandchildren (Angus, Ben, Huw, Nick and Grace), and his second wife, the book and media publisher Pat Woolley. His first wife, Beth, died in 1998.
- Weekend Australian, 26–27 December 2009
- "Obituary: Ted Roberts – TV and movie writer". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- Ann Atkinson, Linsay Knight, Margaret McPhee (ed.) (1996). The dictionary of performing arts in Australia. St Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-005-X.
- Albert Moran ; with additional research by Peter Pinne (1993). Moran's guide to Australian TV series. North Ryde, N.S.W.: Australian Film Television & Radio School; distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-642-18462-3.
- Lindsay's boy by Ted Roberts in Alrene Sykes (Ed.) (1977). Five plays for stage, radio and television. St. Lucia, Qld.: University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0-7022-1444-2.
- National Library of Australia
- Music Australia
- Australian Government Royal Australian Mint