How well do you remember the lyrics to Mary Poppins’ Sister Suffragette?

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Kayleigh Dray
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Most of us are introduced to women’s suffrage by Mary Poppins’ Winifred Banks, but how much of her rousing Sister Suffragette song do you actually remember?

‘Tis the season to scoff chocolates on the sofa as you work your way through a stack of classic Disney films – and there’s none more classic than Mary Poppins.

It was in 1964 that Julie Andrews (playing the film’s eponymous nanny) first grabbed hold of her magical umbrella and sailed gracefully onto the silver screen – and, all these years later, the practically perfect film is still a firm favourite with adults and children around the world. 

There’s many reasons for this: the film’s heart-warming message of love and charity, for starters, not to mention its star-studded cast. Then there’s the fact that the film is, despite Dick van Dyke’s questionable Cockney accent, a beautiful love letter to London: just check out those sweeping panoramas of the smog-covered city if you don’t believe us.

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Above all else, though? The film boasts some of the best bloody music of all time. In fact, it won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Original Score, and those toe-tapping tunes – from Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to Step In Time –have been absolute ear-worms ever since. 

Our favourite of all the songs in Mary Poppins, however, is Sister Suffragette. So we were surprised to learn, then, that the film’s writers never actually planned to include the powerhouse protest song at all. 

According to the songwriters’ autobiography, Walt’s Time, actress Glynis Johns thought she was being offered the role of Mary Poppins when she had, in fact, been signed to play Mrs. Banks. 

Perhaps even more embarrassing, though, was the fact that the misunderstanding only came to light when Johns and Disney sat down to talk about the role in his studio.

Thinking on his feet, Disney softened John’s disappointment of not getting the film’s title role by telling her about the “terrific new song” which the Sherman Brothers had written especially for her. 

He then called up the songwriters to tell them that he was “just about to take Johns to lunch and how she was looking forward to hearing the new song following the meal”, all within earshot of the actress.

The Sherman Brothers quickly deciphered Disney’s coded hint and feverishly began researching women’s rights movements in 1910 England. 

Somehow, in the time it took Disney and Johns to enjoy a (presumably frosty) working lunch, the Sherman Brothers managed to pen the incredible Sister Suffragette that we all know and love so well.

But how well do we really know it? It’s time to find out in our incredibly tricky quiz…

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Image: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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