Weird and Wonderful Conspiracy Theories: Mary Poppins

Harriet Wilson

In two recent blogs, I've looked at conspiracy theories surrounding Hamilton and The Wizard of Oz / Wicked. This time, I am delving into the world of Mary Poppins. Because who doesn't love a spoon full of sugar, and a practically perfect trip down memory lane?

1.   Mary Poppins was Bert's nanny.

You might be thinking that Mary and Bert's relationship was romantic, but this theory suggests an alternative idea. It's clear that Mary and Bert are already acquainted at the beginning of the musical, but what if this is because Mary Poppins was Bert's nanny when he was a child?

This theory is based on Bert's behaviour, which seems to tie in a little too neatly with what Mary Poppins teaches. For one, he loves all of his jobs as if he knows that with every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. As well as that, Bert somehow knows the unusual word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which he claims to have learned he was “just a lad” Where else could he have learnt that?

I was brought round to this theory by the fact that the upcoming sequel will involve Mary Poppins revisiting Jane and Michael Banks when they are all grown up. Maybe that's something that she makes a habit of …


2.   Mary Poppins and Bert were married … until she died.

Another take on Mary and Bert's previous relationship is that they were, in fact, married. Here's the thinking. Mary and Bert were married. They wanted kids, but were unable to conceive. This (presumably American) theory then goes onto state that Bert had to juggle loads of different jobs to keep up with associated medical bills. When Mary died, her spirit stuck around until she and Bert could have closure.


3.   Bert is a drug-dealer. And Mary Poppins is an addict.

Just a spoon full of … drugs? This idea stems from Bert and Mary's job-hopping, as well as their 'vivid' imaginations (clearly, both symptoms of drug-abuse). And, really, jumping into paintings? Flying when you laugh? It seems a bit suspicious.


4.   Mary Poppins went to Hogwarts.

The article that I read on this idea begins bluntly: “the only major concrete evidence I have for this theory is that one: she is English; and two: she uses magic.” As Mary Poppins uses magic fairly openly, she must have been expelled from Hogwarts (in fact, perhaps her wand was broken as a sort of punishment, and she had to replace it with an umbrella). The comments on this article delve a little deeper – doesn't Mary's carpet bag bear some resemblance to a bag that Hermaionie has? Doesn't Hagrid use an umbrella as a wand as well? Besides, Mary Poppins must have studied magic somewhere.

Another comment on this article suggests that the Mary Poppins / Harry Potter universe also encompasses the universe of Peter Pan. After all, where else does being happy or laughing make you fly? And if Peter Pan had drunk a potion of youth … Anything's possible.


5.   Mary Poppins is Nanny McPhee.

There's both nannies. That's it. That's the evidence.


6.   Mary Poppins is … a Time Lord.

I have to admit, I've never seen Doctor Who. But this theory seems quite widely circulated. It's based on the similarities between Mary and the Doctor. Things like their egos, popularity, wish to help others … and love of hats. If this is the case, then Mary Poppins' iconic umbrella might be both her TARDIS and sonic screwdriver. Now, I don't really know what those things are – but they sound pretty cool.


There are some fun theories out there. If Saving Mr Banks is anything to go by, the actual author of Mary Poppins would not have approved of any of them (particularly, I suspect, the drug abuse and numerous universe overlaps). But I think there's one clear question left unanswered: if Mary Poppins went to Hogwarts, what house was she in?