It’s only taken 53 years, but veteran Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke has at last offered an apology for what he called “the most atrocious cockney accent in the history of cinema”.

There were a great deal of fantastical elements in the classic 1964 film, including the titular character’s ability to fly using an umbrella and having a bag that seemingly fit everything in the world into it, but nothing was quite as spectacularly implausible as Van Dyke’s ludicrous cockney accent as he portrayed the loveable chimney-sweep Bert.

The actor and entertainer, now aged 91, was acknowledging the BAFTA Britannia Award For Excellence In Television, which he will be given at a ceremony later this year, and made reference to his iconic role in the Disney favourite in his speech.

Dick Van DykeDick Van Dyke pictured in February 2016

“I appreciate this opportunity to apologise to the members of BAFTA for inflicting on them the most atrocious cockney accent in the history of cinema,” he said self-deprecatingly in a statement on Thursday (July 20th).

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However, BAFTA Los Angeles chief Chantal Rickards also said about Van Dyke’s award. “We look forward to his acceptance speech in whatever accent he chooses on the night. We have no doubt it will be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Van Dyke's award, which will be presented at the 2017 AMD British Academy Britannia Awards, recognises those whose special talents and appeal have elevated television. His performances throughout his seven-decade career have earned him a trophy cabinet of five Emmys, a Tony, a Grammy, the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Television Hall Of Fame.

Van Dyke recently announced back in December last year – maybe not entirely seriously – that he would be doing “a little song and dance number” in the upcoming sequel movie titled Mary Poppins Returns, which is due to feature Emily Blunt in the title role.

“I gotta be a part of it!”

More: Here’s what we know so far about ‘Mary Poppins Returns’