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The Secret Life of Mary Poppins: A Culture Show Special

Victoria Coren Mitchell explores the complex life of Mary Poppins author PL Travers, looking at her 20-year battle with Walt Disney, whose 1964 film version she loathed.

In 1964 the Mary Poppins film premiered in Hollywood to world acclaim. But one person loathed it. She was PL Travers, the author of the books. This Culture Show special presented by Victoria Coren Mitchell explores the dark and complex life of the writer; her 20-year battle with Walt Disney, the strange adoption of her child (he was one of twins), and how the film version overshadowed her writings but made her rich. With contributions from Emma Thompson, Cameron Mackintosh and PL Travers's granddaughter.

1 hour

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Matthew Garber & Karen Dotrice

    Chim Chim Cher-Ee

  • Dick Van Dyke


    Singer: Julie Andrews.
  • Jonathan La Croix

    Red Rover

  • David Marsden

    Mourning Morning After

  • Pete Lockett

    Red Desert Calling

  • David Marsden

    Hint of Spring

  • Andy Hopkins

    Pretty in Pink

  • Adam Saunders & Mark Cousins

    Dark Spell (Underscore)

  • Luke Richards

    Glimmer of Hope

  • Adam Saunders & Mark Cousins

    Manhattan Story

  • Jon Boorman


  • Roger Abaji & Claude Sacre

    Tragic Premonition

  • Pierre Adenot


  • Adam Saunders & Mark Cousins

    Hidden Kingdom

  • Fuze

    Ether Tone Version 1

  • Mary Poppins Orchestra

    Overture: Mary Poppins

  • Philippe Guez

    Coming Shadow

  • múm

    We Have A Map Of The Piano

  • Dick Van Dyke & Julie Andrews

    Jolly Holiday

  • Mark Allaway & Andy Prosser

    Minimal Grooves

  • Debbie Wiseman


  • Ludovico Einaudi


  • Richard M. Sherman & Julie Andrews

    Feed The Birds

  • Julie Andrews

    A Spoonful Of Sugar

  • Andy Hopkins

    Hidden In The Shadows

  • Ray Davies

    Freedom Of The City

  • Jonathan La Croix

    Little Secret

  • Evelyn Glennie, Barrie Gledden & Chris Bussey

    Mind journey

  • Mary Poppins Orchestra

    Penguin Dance

  • David Tomlinson & Dick Van Dyke

    Fidelity Fiduciary Bank

  • Ludovico Einaudi


  • Ludovico Einaudi


  • Maxine Sullivan

    My Curly-headed Baby

  • Katie Herzig

    Lost And Found

  • David Tomlinson, & Dick Van Dyke & The Londoners

    Let's go fly a kite

  • 00:00

    Dick Van Dyke


    Singer: Julie Andrews.
  • 00:24

    Irwin Kostal, Walt Disney Studio Orchestra and Chorus

    Mary Poppins Overture

  • 00:41

    Julie Andrews

    A Spoonful Of Sugar

  • 00:45

    Richard M. Sherman

    Penguin Dance

  • 00:57

    Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson & The Londoners

    Let's Go Fly a Kite


Role Contributor
Presenter Victoria Coren Mitchell
Director Andrew Thompson
Series Editor Janet Lee
Participant Emma Thompson
Participant Cameron Mackintosh


  • Sat 30 Nov 2013 20:30
  • Sat 30 Nov 2013 21:00
  • Mon 30 Dec 2013 18:30
  • Tue 31 Dec 2013 00:00
  • Fri 3 Jan 2014 07:30
  • Sun 27 Dec 2015 12:45
  • Boxing Day 2018 13:30

BBC Arts

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