It was raining, so we went to see Mary Poppins. The screening room was comfortably full of children in t-shirts and discarded waterproofs. The adults sat and steamed for a while. Joshua was rooted to the spot for over two hours; rarely have I seen him so engaged.
“She was wonderful, wasn’t she?” I said afterwards. “But did you notice something?”
“She turns up from nowhere, wearing a crazy scarf. She can speak dog. And she takes her companions on magical adventures. And then she disappears again, as if by magic.”
“Penny in the air?”
“Tell me what you mean.”
“She has a bag that’s much bigger on the inside.”
“And the penny drops.”
“She’s a Time Lord?”
Those of you who have been following for a while will be aware that this is not the first time I mentioned the connection between Doctor Who and Mary Poppins. And, additionally, that I had the idea years before it became popular. Even despite the trappings and props, it’s the whole character: her English eccentricity, her aloofness, her sense of confident, assumed superiority…I have always been of the conviction that a female Doctor is not only unnecessary but would kill the show, but if we had to have one, I mean had to, I’d want it to be Julie Andrews.
“She’s clearly a Time Lord,” said Gareth when I mentioned it. “Her bag is obviously dimensionally transcendental. But since she’s clearly conducting subtle mental experiments on small children, I suspect that she’s an earlier (and slightly less evil) incarnation of the Rani. (I tried making a suitable anagram of MARY POPPINS, but only came up with MOPSY PP RANI, which is presumably how this gentler Rani signs her letters.”
“Maybe she’s like the Valeyard equivalent of the Rani,” I replied, “existing between her twelfth and thirteenth. But because the Rani is fairly sinister (as opposed to outright evil), the Valeyard Rani is fairly nice. This presumably means that somewhere out there is a Valeyard Master, rescuing injured puppies and giving children ice cream.”
Then Gareth found this.
I am frightened.