Mary Poppins is the main character of the books, a magical nanny who sweeps into the Banks home of Cherry Tree Lane and takes charge of the four Banks children. She never openly acknowledges her strange and magical powers, and feigns insult when one of the children refers to her previous adven
Mrs. Winifred Banks is the wife of George Banks and mother of Jane and Michael. In the books she is the struggling mistress of the Banks household. In the film she is a valiant and fervent suffragette and feminist, albeit one who is treated somewhat satirically. In the stage musical she is a former actress who is under constant pressure from her husband as she struggles to enter his social circle.
George Banks is Mary Poppins' employer. He works at the Bank in the City of London, and lives at 17 Cherry Tree Lane with his wife and their children. In the books he is rarely present but is gruffly loving of his wife and children. In the film he has a more prominent role as a cross, coldhearted man who wants order and largely ignores his children and wife, but later on his attitude changes for the better. His role in the stage musical is similar to the film, but he has an additional back-story drawn from the original books, in which he was tormented by a cruel nanny during his childhood.
In the books there are five Banks children: Jane, Michael, John, Barbara and Annabel. Jane and Michael are the eldest and go on most of the magical adventures with Mary Poppins. John and Barbara are toddler twins who only start going on adventures in the second book. Annabel is the youngest and joins the family midway through the second book. Only Jane and Michael appear in the film, stage musical and literaturing.
Bert is one of Mary Poppins' few friends. He normally draws life-like pictures on the pavement with chalk (and so is a screever), but when it rains he instead sells matches and is thus known as the Matchman. Mary sometimes goes on outings with Bert on her Second Tuesday off. In the film Bert is a combination of the Matchman and the Sweep and has a more prominent role in the children's adventures, including taking care of Mary's Uncle Albert. In the stage musical he acts as a narrator and far-away friend of Mary and the Banks children.
Miss Lark lives next door to Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane. She is the owner of two dogs: Andrew and Willoughby. Originally she only had Andrew, who is pure-bred, but the mongrel Willoughby joined the family at Andrew's request. She constantly appears throughout the books and is usually appalled by the magical antics of Mary Poppins. She appears in the film and stage musical as a minor role.
Admiral Boom also lives along Cherry Tree Lane. He is a former Naval Officer but now lives in a house shaped like a ship with his wife Mrs. Boom and his assistant Binnacle, who is a former pirate. Admiral Boom often appears in the Banks children's adventures, but he is never fazed by the unusual happenings that surround Mary Poppins. He is remarkable for his use of colourful sailor's language, although, as the books are intended for children, he never actually swears; his favourite interjection is Blast my gizzard! In the film he is a neighbour of the Banks family who fires his cannon to mark the time; this version of the Admiral is far less salty and more of a proper, "Shipshape and Bristol fashion" kind of sailor, insistent on order and punctuality. In the stage musical he only appears as a minor role.
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