P.L. Travers on Desert Island Discs

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. L. Travers was something of a mysterious woman and seemingly closed off when interviewers asked her personal questions. In a way, she has her own mythology surrounding her, separate to that of her most famous character.

When she took part in Desert Island Discs in 1977, she talked quite philosophically about her writing, some aspects of her personal life and, the topic of the upcoming picture Saving Mr Banks, her reaction to Walt Disney’s interpretation of Mary Poppins.

Perhaps the most striking element of her Desert Island Discs selection is that there are no songs on her list. She chooses only poetry readings, demonstrating her dedication to literature and its preservation.

Thanks to the BBC archives it is still possible to listen to P.L. Travers speaking on Desert Island Discs here.

Some of the topics she discusses on this programme will be explored in the upcoming book Mary Poppins’ London.