Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:37amExtraordinary Women Series

The Life Story of Pamela Travers

Pamela Lyndon Travers was an Australian-British novelist, actress and journalist who wrote under the pen name of P.L. Travers. In England in 1933, she started a series of children’s novels about a magical English nanny named Mary Poppins.


The “Real Mary Poppins,” is the life story of Pamela Travers, the creator of the books called Mary Poppins. It airs on Friday, Jan. 24 from 9-10p.m. on KSPS Spokane.

The program combines interviews and footage from the 2002 documentary “The Shadow of Mary Poppins” interwoven with clips from “Saving Mr. Banks” and interviews with cast members.

The Real Mary Poppins draws on an extensive archive and interviews to tell Travers’ real story and to answer the question so many have asked: Where did Mary Poppins come from?

If you see the Disney movie “Saving Mr. Banks” starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, you’ll see a very different rendering of the making of the original Mary Poppins.

 The 2013 movie Saving Mr. Banks is a dramatized rendition about author Traver’s and Walt Disney's relationship and working process during the planning of Mary Poppins. The movie stars Emma Thompson as Travers and Tom Hanks as Disney. It is billed as the true story behind the making of “Mary Poppins” … based on Traver’s complex relationship with Walt Disney.

Although it seems to have gotten good reviews for the most part, there is some criticism out there that the movie, based on a true story, has very little historical accuracy.

Travers reportedly led a remarkable but troubled life. Behind the fictional nanny lies a complex tale of a young woman escaping rural Australia in her pursuit to become a writer, reinventing herself and her past along the way.

Given all that, it will be interesting to see what the “other side of the story” ends up revealing.


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