Super nanny created by villager returns to the big screen
by Richard Moore | 18th December 2018
MARY Poppins Returns is one of the most eagerly anticipated Christmas films of the year and it’s all thanks to an author who lived on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells.
The new movie stars Emily Blunt and is released on Friday [December 21], nearly 50 years after Julie Andrews first played the eponymous nanny. The original book from which the film was based, was penned by P. L. Travers.
The Australian-born author moved to Pound Cottage, near Mayfield in 1934, where she published the first Mary Poppins book.
In all, Travers wrote eight books featuring the magical nanny, between 1934 and 1988. The first film was released by Walt Disney in 1964, but the author was not impressed, as detailed in the 2013 biopic, Saving Mr Banks.
“They sent her a treatment for the film and she said it was hopeless,” Tim Cornish, film historian at the Mayfield Film Society told BBC South East.
“They told her to write her own in that case, so she did,” added Mr Cornish.
It is impossible to say what Travers would think of the new film, but after the release of the original Disney musical, Travers ruled out any further adaptations.
In a 1977 interview, the author, who died in London in 1996, aged 96, said: “I've seen it once or twice, and I've learned to live with it. It's glamorous and it's a good film on its own level, but I don't think it is very like my books.”
The new film, which also stars Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Ben Wishaw, Emily Mortimer and Julie Walters, is set two decades after the original, and centres on the two children from the original film who are grown up with children of their own.