The Secret Life Of Mary Poppins
Friday, 29 November 2013
The Secret Life Of Mary Poppins is a documentary (a special edition of The Culture Show) about PL Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books, that I’ve been working on for a little while. It looks at the very unusual and controversial life decisions of this magical author (born at the end of the 19th century), and how she felt about the Disney version of her famous character.
This is a column I wrote about it last week - but the documentary’s on TV tomorrow night so, if you think you might watch it, then you may as well skip the column!
I hope it comes out well, this documentary. I think it will. PL Travers was a remarkable person; the Mary Poppins books are really wonderful (as was the Disney film, in its own way, but our documentary addresses the complications of that), and - insofar as a BBC documentary budget will allow - the aim is to fill our programme with cute special effects to make it feel a bit magical and childlike and Poppinsy. So, you know, I’ll be flying about with a parrot umbrella. I’m hoping that means it might be a good documentary for children to watch - children who are aged in double figures, at least - especially if they’ve read the books or seen the film. BREAK THEM INTO THE DOCUMENTARY WORLD! TRAIN THEM UP AS QUIZZERS! Certainly it’s a documentary that would have fascinated me when I was that age.
If you’re thinking this might get in the way of Saving Mr Banks, the new feature film about PL Travers that opens in cinemas today: it shouldn’t. Ours is sort of a companion piece. We look more widely at Travers’ life, and consider the new movie in the light of the old one; they are a proper Hollywood film with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in it. Both, I hope, have their merits! Certainly you could watch both that film and our documentary, and I don’t think that either would be spoiled or that it really matters which order you watch them in.
Anyway. I haven’t seen the finished documentary myself yet, so I can only say that I hope it’s good and that you enjoy it if you watch.
Saturday night, 8.30pm, on BBC Two.