‘Cor blimey guvnor
Ah, Dick Van Dyke, the silver-haired fox best known for his portrayal of a cockney chimneysweep in Mary Poppins and/or Dr. Mark Sloan, chief of Internal Medicine at Community General Hospital (we’re talking about Diagnosis Murder in case you’re not a fan of daytime TV).
Today, we will mainly be focusing on his seminal role as the aforementioned chimneysweep, Bert, in Mary Poppins, the 1964 film in which he starred alongside Julie Andrews and her impeccable RP accent.
One of favourite takeaways from the film – of which there were many – was Dick Van Dyke’s ‘spirited’ Cockney accent. What did it hail from? Some deep recess of East London that claims to be the original birthplace of Cockney? No. It came from Ireland.
In a recent interview with The Mirror following his 90th birthday, DVD finally set the record straight about his incredible accent. Turns out, it wasn’t his fault.
‘They only sent a coach to me once for that accent,’ he explained, ‘and he was an Irishman – his cockney accent was not much better than mine.’
And so, a 52-year-old mystery has been solved.