Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right The Secret Life of Mary Poppins: a Culture Show Special

The Secret Life of Mary Poppins: a Culture Show Special

Sat Nov 30, 8.30-9.30pm, BBC2

The Secret Life of Mary Poppins: a Culture Show Special
By Jon Lynes |
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It may diminish the magic of Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins’ to know that: a) a lawyer is largely to thank for its existence, and b) that the author PL Travers disliked the film version of her work, having taken 20 years to agree to sell the rights. And it wasn’t because of Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent; rather, that the 1964 film was too saccharine and failed to capture the essence of her novels. Judging by host Victoria Coren’s fond recollections of the books, including the harrowing chapter ‘Bad Wednesday’, she definitely had a point.

This captivating documentary catalogues the prolonged fight between Disney and the enigmatic Travers. She battled obstinately to preserve her artistic integrity, despite countless dollar bills being waved in her face. Her story is a fascinating one, and the assured, astute and affable Coren tells it with aplomb and affection: a far cry from Disney’s idyllic world of nuclear families and kite-flying.

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