Dick Van Dyke to Revive Magnificently Bad Cockney Accent in ‘Mary Poppins’ Sequel
Dick Van Dyke remains a beloved and esteemed entertainer at age 91, fondly remembered for his charismatic performances as a hapless songwriter in Bye Bye Birdie and a sooty-faced chimneysweep in Disney’s 1964 musical Mary Poppins. What he’s remembered decidedly less fondly for is the other role he played in the period-piece musical, elderly bank chairman Mr. Dawes, Senior. Clad in old-age makeup and credited as “Nackvid Keyd” (an anagram of Dick Van Dyke), the notorious D.V.D. busted out a frightfully bad Cockney accent in his scenes as the tight-fisted money man. Widely mocked at the time and voted the second-worst accent ever in a poll from Empire, it was not the high point of Van Dyke’s impressive career.
But he’ll get a chance to make good. The sprightly actor revealed to Entertainment Tonight that he will indeed make an appearance in the upcoming sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, set in 1930, 20 years after the events of the original. He’ll portray Mr. Dawes Jr., the elderly son of the since deceased Mr. Dawes, during a shoot in London this spring. To THR, Van Dyke said, "This one supposedly takes place 20 years later and the kids are all grown up. It’s a great cast – Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, and that guy [Lin-Manuel Miranda] from Hamilton." Even at 91, Van Dyke remains a master of subtle shade.
In the upcoming film, the adult children from the original film are “paid a visit by their former nanny following a bereavement,” the rare premise that sounds like it could be a Disney tentpole or a Dardennes brothers movie. How Van Dyke fits into this has not yet been made explicit, but what’s certain is that he will do a little song-and-dance number. It turns out that Van Dyke’s never lost the pep in his step.