Whatever happened to Gertrude Page?

‘Whatever happened to Gertrude Page?’, a one-hour radio documentary funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Sound & Vision scheme, broadcast at 12noon on October 31st 2022 on LMFM Radio.

The documentary was shortlisted for an IMRO Radio Award in 2023.

IMRO Radio Awards

The documentary is an attempt by documentary maker Chris Nikkel to track down the legacy of a forgotten woman writer who scaled the heights of fame and fortune only to have her legacy cancelled through historical and political shifts in the early 20th Century.

Gertrude Page was the author of 20 books that sold 2.5 million copies worldwide. Her most famous novel, Paddy the Next Best Thing, was set in the village of Omeath, in Co Louth—it sold more than 300,000 copies, had a record-breaking run at the Savoy Theatre as a play, before being adapted into a Hollywood blockbuster.

But as Chris Nikkel finds, Page’s fame was built on a British Colonial legacy that soon became unpalatable. When she moved to Rhodesia, today called Zimbabwe, she wrote novels promoting British settler life, gaining her the nickname:  ‘the Kipling of Rhodesia’. Today it is a critique more than a complement.

Even Paddy the Next Best Thing became problematic as it portrayed the Irish ascendency in Omeath, a world that fell out of favour after Irish independence. As a result, not one Gertrude Page book is in print today. The Hollywood version of Paddy the Next Best Thing survives, but is rarely watched.

To uncover this story, Chris Nikkel wanders the streets of Omeath, meets local historical groups and gets help from a TCD film professor—he even tracks down the house where Gertrude set Paddy—all to answer the question: Whatever Happened to Gertrude Page?

Phone Us

+353 42 942 0530

Where We Are

Little Road, Dromiskin,
Dundalk, Co.Louth