For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament, Mary Poppins (32) versus Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (16)[Breakfast at the Banks's. MR BANKS eats his toast with an irritated expression]
MR BANKS: Winifred?
MRS BANKS: Yes dear?
MR BANKS: Don't you sometimes think that Mary Poppins is a little too, how shall I put it, magical?
MRS BANKS: Yes dear.
MR BANKS: Then don't you think we should do something about it?
MRS BANKS: Yes dear.
MR BANKS: Well, what are we going to do then?
MRS BANKS: Don't worry, dear, I've engaged a new nanny to help her. She's not magical at all. I'm sure you'll like her very much.
MR BANKS [deflated]
: Oh. Good.[JANE and MICHAEL rush in, followed by MARY POPPINS and MRS BEETON]
MRS BANKS: And here she is. Children, you have a big day ahead of you. Michael, have you taken your cod-liver oil?
MICHAEL [truculent scowl]
: No. I don't like it.
MARY POPPINS: Now, Michael, remember what I always say. A spoonful of sugar...[She has taken out a spoonful of white sugar. Michael eyes it disgustedly]
MRS BEETON: Ah, Mary, I think Michael might prefer some unrefined cane sugar, with just the smallest hint of vanilla. We tried it last night and he said it was a vast
improvement. Here we are...[She takes out a second spoonful. Michael swallows it avidly, followed by the cod-liver oil. MARY looks surprised]
MRS BEETON: But we must hurry, mustn't we? There was that tea-party we were going to attend...[The scene rapidly flips to a tea party on UNCLE ALBERT's ceiling. MARY pours out the tea. JANE takes a sip and is visibly unimpressed]
BERT: What's wrong, Jane?
JANE: Where do I start? This is Earl Grey, and not my favourite brand either. The tea-pot hasn't been warmed. And the milk is off.[UNCLE ALBERT, BERT and MARY look helpless. MRS BEETON reaches into her handbag]
MRS BEETON: As it happens, I do have a little Darjeeling here and a bottle of fresh milk. Please let me help.[She tips out the offending tea, expertly makes a fresh pot and pours out new cups for everyone. JANE gazes at her with shining eyes, while MARY tries hard to seem unconcerned. The children drink their tea contentedly]
MARY POPPINS: I'm terribly sorry, we must go. You're visiting your father's bank.
CHILDREN: Awwww, already?[The scene flips again to the street in front of Saint Paul's Cathedral. The BIRD WOMAN is selling bags of crumbs]
BIRD WOMAN: Feed the birds! Tuppence a bag!
MICHAEL: Can I buy one?[MRS BEETON bends down, picks up a stray crumb and examines it carefully]
MRS BEETON: Well, this is simply monstrous! Cheap, stale, white bread, I'm sure it's giving those poor sparrows stomache-aches. And tuppence a bag must be at least a 1000% markup.
MICHAEL: But I want to feed the birds!
MRS BEETON: Fortunately, I came prepared. [She reaches into her bag again]
The loaf I baked this morning, for a total cost of one ha'penny, was enough to make a bag for you [she gives one to MICHAEL]
, Jane, [one for JANE]
, your father [one for MR BANKS]
and even one for this kind gentleman here [she hands one to THE OLDER MR DAWES, who has just joined them]
. [Everyone feeds the birds, who can't get enough of the delicious bread]
THE OLDER MR DAWES [to MICHAEL]
: So what brings you here, young fellow?
MICHAEL: I'd like to invest my tuppence in your bank, sir.
THE OLDER MR DAWES: Would you indeed!
MICHAEL: Yes, I would! Then I'll be part of... railways through Africa! Dams across the Nile!
JANE [whispers to MICHAEL]
: The ships! Tell him about the ships!
MICHAEL: Fleets of ocean greyhounds! Plantations of ripening tea!
JANE: Darjeeling, of course.
MICHAEL: All for tuppence, prudently, carefully, invested in the...
THE OLDER MR DAWES: You seem to have a good head on your shoulders, young fellow. It must come from your father.
MICHAEL: No, from Mrs... [JANE kicks him]
, I mean, yes sir. Father's taught us all about finance. It's very interesting.
THE OLDER MR DAWES: Has he now? That reminds me, Banks, there's a place coming up on the Board. Perhaps we should talk about it.
MR BANKS: I'd be honoured, sir.
THE OLDER MR DAWES: Well, don't just stand there! Do come in [he ushers them into the bank]
, Banks, your two charming children, this delightful lady here [he gives a courtly bow to MRS BEETON]
, and, ah, wasn't there another member of the party?[He looks around, surprised, but MARY POPPINS has unaccountably disappeared]