Rachel Armstrong (2006-2010)
Parents: Robert Armstrong, Elaine Armstrong
Siblings: Brad Armstrong, Tamsyn Armstrong (half-sister)
Marital Status: Kim Hyde (2006-2007, divorced), Tony Holden (2009-)
Children: Harry Holden, Jack Holden (stepson), Lucas Holden (stepson)
Occupation: Psychiatric Registrar, Doctor
Rachel Armstrong, an old friend of Leah Patterson-Baker, didn't have the easiest time when she started her new job at Yabbie Creek Hospital - she had to deal with her first medical emergency before she got inside!
On her way in for her first shift, she spotted Kim Hyde lying unconscious on the grass. The staff didn't have a clue who she was at first, but it's lucky she was there as the other doctors were unavailable. Rachel's quick-thinking solved the mystery of what had caused Kim to enter a comatose state, and she did her very best to calm an understandably devastated Barry and Irene.
Within her first week in Summer Bay she has to deal with medical dramas, power cuts and a housemate who's just separated from her husband. Surely things can only get better for Summer Bay's new resident medic?
Perhaps not. She nearly lands herself in hot water when she has to help out Leah who is being held hostage in her own home. On top of all that, on her first proper day as psych registrar, she begins to fall for her patient, Kim. At their first meeting she's very giggly and chatty, but then cools off when she begins to fell uncomfortable about being attracted to a patient, eventually suggesting that Kim switches to another registrar.
Kim however wasn't so keen to give up on their romance and persisted with his campaign to woo her; everything from flowers to serenading her through the window of Leah's house. Besides trying to fight her feelings for Kim, Rachel was also dealing with sexual harassment at work at the hands of her Mentor and boss Senior Doctor Helpman. Understandably his proposal of 'sleep with me or I'll make your life a misery' was not appealing to Rachel who turned to Kim for support and realising she could no longer fight it, Rachel and Kim shared a kiss. Of course things still weren't plain sailing as Doctor Helpman found out about the affair and used it as another tool to bully her with, refusing to drop his campaign even when she saved his son's life.
Eventually and with Kim's support enough was enough for Rachel who reported Helpman to the hospital board at the same time confessing to her own affair. Unfortunately the hospital board didn't appreciate her honesty and she was struck off only to be reinstated at the eleventh hour and offered a new position in Accident and Emergency after being specifically requested by the new guy in charge at A & E.
Curious as to who had saved her job Rachel was further shocked to find out that her new boss was none other than her father, an esteemed Doctor himself. The tension between father and daughter was obvious and little by little the reason Rachel had never talked about her family to Kim was revealed. Her father was strict and overbearing, insistent that Rachel follow in his footsteps as an A & E Doctor except that Rachel could never quite live up to his expectations. Add to that the fact that her mother Elaine was in a hospice having lost her memory in a car crash in which her father was driving, it was no wonder there was tension.
Initially keen to re-build her relationship with her father Rachel started to become suspicious of his motives and she was revealed to be right when her father asked her to lie in order to protect his career. It turned out he had been drunk whilst performing surgery and the patient had died and now the family was seeking compensation. Initially torn Rachel then became enraged when it was revealed the day in question was the same day her father had been driving her mother home and had crashed the car causing her mother's permanent brain damage and memory loss. Refusing to cover for him, Rachel's father then disappeared, taking with him all their savings and leaving Rachel to care for Elaine.
Now happily settled in her relationship with Kim, it was time for something else to go wrong. Enter Charlie, a seemingly innocent young boy who was lonely after caring for his sick grandmother in an isolated shack for years. Initially feeling sorry for him Rachel and Kim befriended him only for Rachel to become increasingly concerned as Charlie was found wearing Kim's clothes, imitating him and becoming increasingly infatuated with him. The final straw came on the night of Jack and Martha's engagement when Charlie held Rachel hostage in a deranged plan to get Kim to himself, only to have Kim rescue Rachel in the nick of time and knock Charlie out causing him to have a seizure. Despite the fact he had just nearly killed her, Doctor's instinct took over for Rachel and she saved his life with the poor lad eventually being taken into psychiatric care and leaving Rachel furious with herself for not having recognised the signs sooner.
Rachel was thrown a further dilemma when she was offered the promotion of a lifetime, only problem was that it meant moving to New York. Initially she turned it down, not wanting to jeopardise her relationship but when Kim found out from a typically interfering Colleen he proposed and offered to go with her and a delighted Rachel accepted. With their leaving party planned to coincide with Jack and Martha's wedding Rachel, Kim and Elaine all attended the wedding.
However with the reception venue blown up as part of twisted Eve's revenge plan, Rachel was thrown straight into action at the hospital. With Kim only suffering from burns and her mother seemingly okay, Rachel's attentions were focused on helping the injured parties out but while she was helping everyone else, her mother suddenly arrested and died leaving Rachel understandably devastated. Unable to deal with her grief Rachel shut down, focusing on what she did best, tending to the sick. She arranged a helicopter to transfer those with the worst burns to a hospital in the City for plastic surgery. Except that the helicopter crashed in a storm and with its occupants Martha, Robbie, Belle, Kit and her fiancé Kim all missing presumed dead and a grieving Alf holding her responsible, Rachel quickly spiralled out of control.
Drinking and popping pills at an alarming rate, being arrested for drunk driving and slapping Leah were just a few crimes on her downward spiral until an exasperated Leah called Rachel's brother Brad in to help. Not even Brad could reach out to Rachel though as she spiralled further and further out of control, eventually being found unconscious by Brad and Sally and rushed to hospital to have her stomach pumped. It proved to be the wake up call Rachel needed though and when Kim was eventually found alive the pair were reunited. However there was further heartache in store for the luckless Doctor when she overheard a phone conversation revealing that Kim had actually slept with his ex Kit while lost together in the Bush. Understandably devastated, Rachel initially reacted badly and ended things only to forgive him later.
Their relationship was further threatened when Rachel revealed she wanted kids but Kim didn't and Rachel was all prepared to end things as a result. Fortunately Kim managed to talk her into a compromise and things were back on track. With her relationship back on course Rachel was occupied supporting Brad and his terminally ill wife Emily and helping nurse Kim after he collapsed on the beach suffering from the mumps. A routine check up later revealed that the mumps had caused Kim to be infertile. Then came Tara O'Neill, Kim's client at the gym who flirted with him until he admitted he had a fiancé at which point Tara accused Kim of sexual assault. The narrow minded gossips of the town took Tara's side and having lost his job at the Gym, Kim decided to move to the City with a reluctant Rachel agreeing to follow. The charges were eventually dropped after a tearful Tara admitted to Rachel that she had lied to get her father, a senior police Chief's attention and Kim returned to the Bay.
With things now seemingly back on track Rachel launched headlong into preparations for her wedding but when pregnant teenager Lee abandoned her baby at the hospital, Rachel and Kim took him in and came to fall for him, eventually applying to adopt him. Having overcome the initial scepticism that Kim was too young Rachel and Kim were finally awarded guardianship of Joe with him arriving just in time for their wedding. Seemingly fated, a culmination events led to Kim very nearly missing the wedding altogether before turning up in the nick of time, bareback on a stolen horse to finally make Rachel his wife. Their happiness was short-lived however when only a short while later a seemingly reformed Lee re-appeared to reclaim her son, leaving Rachel and Kim devastated.
Still coming to terms with so nearly being parents to Joe, Rachel and Kim were thrown into turmoil with the revelation that Kim's ex Kit was pregnant with his child, conceived during their one night stand in the bush. Rachel agreed to stand by Kit and Kim but found it difficult to adjust to Kim spending so much ime with Kit. Agreeing to include her a little more, things were still strained as Rachel and Kit clashed over everything with Kim continually taking Kit's side. After one argument Kit developed a severe headache and Rachel rushed her to hospital only for the car to crash and hang perilously over the edge of a cliff. Luckily Kim was there in time to rescue them both and at the hospital Kit was diagnosed with a migraine but Kim blamed Rachel for the accident and the two only made up when Kit intervened. When Kit's ex James arrived on the scene and started working at the hospital Rachel was relieved as the responsibility for Kit went onto James, much to Kim's disgust. After a particulary fraught dinner Rachel confronted Kim as to why he disliked James so much only to be told he was a pot smoker. Rachel was then left with an ethical decision over whether or not to report him, finally opting to do the latter.
When James was found to still be smoking Rachel reported him and after losing his job and being thrown out by Kit, James, high on drugs, held her hostage. She was freed by Kim and Rachel and James left the Bay. With James now gone and the birth drawing close it was Kim who was again on hand to tend to Kit's every need. Eventually baby Archie was born on the same day Kit's mother, Beth died and Kim was there to support Kit, neglecting Rachel again in the process. Rachel was pleased when her old college friend Hugh arrived and moved in with them but after a few arguments and a lot of tension, Hugh moved out. After finding a photo of Kit and Archie in front of her photo in Kim's wallet Rachel went to see Hugh who revealed he couldn't be there for her because he loved her. Blocking Hugh from her mind and witjh Kim apologetic, they arrainged a weekend away and Rachel suggested to Kim that they start a family of their own, using a sperm donor. Kim initially agreed but it seemed he wasn't particulary keen and when Kit, having realised she still loved Kim, heard the announcement, she had one of her own. She was moving back to the city with Archie. Yet another argument between Kim and Rachel followed with Kim admitting he didn't want a family with Rachel. Devastated, Rachel turned to Hugh once more and this time things went a bit too far and they slept together.
The next morning Rachel was full of guilt and regrets and tried to end things with Hugh but despite everything she just couldn't stay away from him. Hugh though had had enough and gave Rachel an ultimatum. He was going to Johannesburg and he needed to know whether she would come with him. Hugh waited past his ultimatum time but Rachel never showed so he left the Bay and left Rachel with Kim. Her attempts to save her marriage though, failed, with Kim growing closer to Kit by the day. Consumed with guilt, Rachel decided the only way to save her marriage was to come clean about her affair with Hugh. Kim reacted furiously and though he admitted kissing Kit, he refused to forgive Rachel, eventually choosing to leave the bay and a devastated Rachel, to be with Kit.
In the run up to Brad's wedding to Sally, Rachel became distinctly uneasy around Brad's old friend and best man Henk, even going so far as to warn him to leave town. She later revealed to Leah that he had sexually assaulted her and when Henk was discovered in bed with Cassie, Rachel told the truth about her ordeal leading to Brad beating him up and Henk leaving town. When Brad's wedding to Sally broke down she returned his support by fully taking his side and telling Sally exactly what she thought of her.
Rachel struck up a relationship with new Doctor Lewis Reed and defended him when Sam took an instant dislike to him and he was accused of being the hospital stalker. She fell pregnant by him and delightedly gave him the news only for him to react badly. He returned a few days later to apologise but at that point Rachel had miscarried and told Lewis that they wanted different things and asked him to leave.
After discovering the jacket used by the hospital stalker she became his next target as he began sending her a series of chilling notes. To protect herself she accepted a lift from Reverand Hall only for him to attack her at her house and reveal that he was in fact the stalker. He tied her up and gagged her but before he could hurt her he collapsed and had a fit and Rachel was able to save his life before phoning Tony for help.
She began to get close to new guy in town Roman but after Colleen pointed out how like Kim he was, she decided to accept a date with Tony Holden. Their first date was a dinner in the city and went tentatively well. Their second date was better until it was interrupted by Irene with the news that Dan had died. Rachel supported Leah in the aftermath and continued to develop her relationship with Tony, despite Jazz Curtis's attempts to win him back.
When Sam died and Jack went missing, Rachel struggled with being unable to help Sam, but was soon on hand to support Tony and look after Jack in the hospital. Soon after Tony proposed to her in the Diner and, after her initial surprise, she accepted. She wanted to make plans for the wedding and set a date but Tony was distracted with the anniversary of Beth's death. Rachel was disappointed by Tony distancing himself from her but when he explained that he was concerned about what Mattie thought of their relationship, they made up and set a date for the wedding.
When the subject of starting a family came up, Rachel was keen to get started and talked Tony into seeing a doctor about getting a vasectomy reversal. However, when the doctor told Tony it was unlikely he would father any more children, Rachel was devastated. Tony told her she should think about whether they should stay together as he couldn't give her what she wanted but before Rachel could make up her mind, Tony called off the wedding. A devastated Rachel confronted him and said that she wanted to be with him no matter what. Tony then decided to go ahead with the reversal which proved to be successful.
When Martha was diagnosed with breast cancer Rachel was the one to break the news to her. She was also on hand advise her about her treatment and support her following her mastectomy.
Rachel gained the unwanted attention of Jimmy, a psychiatric patient who she had dealt with before. When he found out about her wedding to Tony he became aggressive and told her she shouldn't be with him as he was too old for her. Jimmy then began to stalk her and Rachel asked the hospital staff to refer him to another doctor when he was brought into the hospital. This contributed to her stress before her wedding to Tony as she seemed distracted and uninterested in discussing the wedding. The night before the wedding Rachel disappeared and both Leah and Tony thought she had run away with Hugh.
Unbeknown to them, Rachel had been kidnapped by Aden after going to his house to find out why he had broken into her car and stole drugs. Despite Rachel trying to talk him around, Aden continued to hold her and his father as he wanted his father to die. When Belle discovered what had happened she managed to talk Aden out of killing his father and called the police. When Rachel was set free she was devastated to hear that Tony and Leah thought she had run off with Hugh and that Tony had left town. Rachel wanted desperately to explain to him what had happened but she had no way of contacting him. Tony then returned and the two shared an emotional reunion. However, their joy was shortlived when Bridget arrived in town. Tony confessed to sleeping with Bridget while he was away which left Rachel distraught. Tony moved out to give Rachel some space and, despite his efforts to reconcile, Rachel was unsure about what to do. The situation was not helped when Bridget decided to stay in town and immerse herself in their lives. After talking to Martha, Rachel decided to forgive Tony and they got their relationship back on track.
When Joe, the boy who Rachel and Kim nearly adopted, came back into her life, along with Dane, Rachel was drawn to Joe once again. Joe was then diagnosed with cancer and Rachel offered to take care of him while Dane went to look for Joe's mother. Despite Tony's concerns, Rachel started bonding with Joe and seemed reluctant to acknowledge the fact that it was only a temporary arrangement. When Dane came back and took Joe to be with his mother in Queensland, Rachel was devastated.
Just when Tony and Leah were trying to help her put Joe out of her mind, Dane returned and told her that Joe had died. Rachel was shattered and lashed out at both Tony and Dane. When Dane told her what had happened she began to realise that there was nothing she could have done to prevent it. She apologised to Tony for pushing him away and he told her that he wanted them to bring a child of their own up together. A few weeks later, despite experiencing some problems conceiving, Rachel found out she was pregnant. Rachel and Tony were thrilled by this and were even happier following her first ultrasound.
Towards the end of 2008, Rachel thought that Bridget was faking her cancer returning and set out to try and investigate further. When Rachel bumped into Bridget at the diner, Bridget became very defensive about her questions. Rachel was then infuriated when Bridget threatened her relationship with Tony but Bridget managed to make Rachel look like to bad guy when she faked feling unwell. Rachel expressed her concerns to Leah but she said that so one would pretend to have cancer. Rachel then took her concerns to Alf but Bridget had got in first. Alf was very upset that Rachel was saying that Bridget was lyiing and asked her to leave the bar. Rachel went to the police station to talk to Jack about the situation but he was too busy to speak to her.
When Jack was found dead she struggled to support Tony as he pushed her away and showed no interest in the baby. Instead she turned her attention to Bridget and insisted she leave town or Rachel would tell Alf. Bridget initially agreed only to stall but when VJ was kidnapped by Bridget's associate, Rachel outed her to everyone and she was arrested. She thought Tony was having an affair when he kept leaving the house at night and was seen with another woman but it turned out he was fixing up Jack's boat. He enlisted the help of his family and friends and surprised Rachel with a proposal at the hospital. She agreed but insisted she wasn't going to stress about this wedding.
They set the venue for Martha's farm and eventually tied the knot in front of all their family and friends but suffered last minute drama when Belle collapsed at the Reception. Rachel revived Belle at the scene and took her to hospital where she had her admitted to rehab against her will, before leaving on her honeymoon with Tony. After returning, she visited Belle and apologised for not helping her earlier.
When Angelo returned to town, Rachel was concerned about Tony's reaction to him and the fact he seemed to have no interest in their unborn child. She was pleased when Tony seemed to make his peace with Angelo but further concerned when he seemed to spend more time with Angelo than with his family, turning up late for an ultrasound appointment and causing her to cancel and then choosing to go on a fishing trip with him rather than a family picnic. Although Tony accompanied her to the next ultrasound, when she attempted to watch the video and discuss names with him, he snapped at her and stormed out. When Rachel started bleeding at work, Tony couldn't be contacted and she was left to go through potentially traumatic tests with only Miles and Leah at her side. Rachel was horrified when he turned up at the hospital and, after she had been given the all-clear, admitted he had been planning to kill Angelo but couldn't go through with it and was relieved when no charges were brought.
Rachel found herself in the role of confidante when she learned of Martha and Hugo's growing feelings for each other and found herself trying to keep the peace during a tense dinner party at the house. When her friends threw a baby shower for her, she was left worried by Colleen's prediction she would spend all her time at home with the baby, despite Leah's attempts to reassure her. She diagnosed Belle with terminal cancer and encouraged her to tell Aden and the rest of her family but accepted her decision to keep the news to herself. She arranged the paperwork for Belle and Aden to get married quickly and assured Belle they would all look after Aden after she was gone then ended up going into labour at Belle's hen party. She gave birth to a son who she and Tony named Harry. While on maternity leave, she was called back in to get Belle discharged so she could die at home.
Rachel's early days of motherhood were fraught when first she was plagued with visitors, upsetting her attempts to get Harry into a routine, and then Jane Avent, a patient who had gone into labour in a corridor while Rachel was looking after her and whose baby had died, and her husband sued her for negligence. The hospital cleared Rachel of any wrongdoing but Jane continued to hang around the house, accusing Rachel of being an unfit mother and Rachel became so worried that she berated Tony for taking Harry out while she was asleep. Leah persuaded her that she needed to accept that her life was going to be more chaotic now and she made things up with Tony. When Harry went missing while Martha and Hugo were babysitting, Rachel insisted Jane was responsible. She ended up breaking into the Avents' house, searching for evidence that they knew where Harry was and insisting that Jane had hidden him somewhere when she apparently returned to the house during her visit, and had to be removed by the police. Then a real estate agent told Rachel a woman had rented a studio flat in her name. Rachel raced round there and found Jane with Harry, just before the police arrived and Charlie persuaded Jane to return him to Rachel.
Rachel was still finding motherhood difficult and, while attending a mother and baby group, was relieved to meet widowed single parent Andy McLeod, who was also having difficulties. She began spending most of her time with him and his children, upsetting Tony, especially when she missed a romantic dinner he had prepared because she was with Andy. After helping diagnose Andy's older daughter Sophie as deaf, she apologised to Tony and agreed that she and Harry should spend more time with him. She even left Harry with Hugo and Martha again so they could spend the day together but although they enjoyed themselves they quickly realised they missed having Harry around. Despite offering Miles some reassurance over Kirsty's pregnancy, she reacted badly to Tony trying to set Gina up with a job at Summer Bay High, saying he should have asked Gina first. They ended up spending a day on the farm and falling asleep while Martha looked after Harry.
But her problems continued and she spent a sleepless night trying to look after a crying Harry before falling asleep on him and nearly smothering him. Rachel kept her head enough to revive him at the scene but, with Harry in intensive care, Rachel felt she was a terrible mother and Harry was better off without her, while still refusing to accept she had a problem. Leah wondered if Rachel had post-natal depression and after talking with her, Tony and Julie, Rachel admitted she needed help. Rachel spent a few days away at a retreat recovering and afterwards told Tony that her counsellor had suggested she go back to work part-time in order to feel more in control. Although initially sceptical, Tony agreed and Rachel quickly found an emergency on her hands when she had to help Kirsty through her miscarriage and also treated Ruby when she collapsed from low blood sugar.
She quizzed Tony about him withdrawing money from their savings account to fund the business and later had a look at the gym's books and was shocked at how slow business had become. Tony admitted the gym was in financial difficulty and Rachel offered to take on extra work to help out. She helped get Miles to hospital after she and Tony found him beaten up and also offered Martha a shoulder to cry on over her break-up with Hugo. She was slightly concerned by Tony's decision to go into business with John Palmer, especially when John immediately brought workmen in.
She treated Wayan and the other refugees when they were brought into hospital and was shocked when he revealed Hugo was responsible for his injuries. She stopped Tony leaving Gina and Xavier a message saying Martha was all right, which resulted in Hugo going to the hospital to check on her and being arrested. She was unsympathetic towards Liam when he was brought in after taking drugs, although she eventually admitted he was right to seek help, and told him only he could turn his life around. She visited Leah on finding she had shut herself away in the house after the race riot, suspecting she might have agoraphobia or post-traumatic stress disorder, but was unable to persuade her to seek help. She attempted to mollify the feud between Tony and John, asking Gina to speak to John, and was annoyed when Tony decided to sell his share of the gym without consulting her, especially since it would affect the family financially. She was unhappy with his plan to get a job as a labourer, feeling he wouldn't be happy in that sort of work, and instead encouraged him to go back to teaching. She then moved on to teasing Leah about her feelings for Elijah and tried to keep the peace between Gina and Xavier.
She treated Justin after his car accident and confirmed his memory loss was real but also realised not all of the blood on him was his own. She went to Aden and Justin with the news the blood found on Justin was Larry's and agreed to run the tests again instead of informing the police straightaway. She was also called in by Alf and Marilyn to talk to Miles about Rabbit and tried to persuade him to go to hospital for an evaluation before introducing him to Michael at the Diner and running tests which discounted a brain tumour. She was less than happy about Tony's plans to start up boxing classes but defended him to Gina when he started teaching Xavier, telling her it would be good for him to have a focus. When he challenged John to a boxing match, Rachel made her disapproval clear, refusing to even talk to Tony and making him sleep on the couch, as well as taking him shopping to "celebrate" him temporarily calling the fight off. After an uncomfortable conversation with John, where she compared him and Tony to the race rioters and he commented the remark was below the belt, she went to see Tony to wish him luck but was relieved when it came to nothing.
When the news came that Hugo was alive, Rachel expressed her hope that he stayed away from town rather than place them in danger and admitted that she had a hard time forgiving him for the suffering he'd caused the refugees, so was less than happy to find him hiding out at Martha's farm, needing treatment for an injured wrist. When Xavier, Martha and Gina were all kidnapped, she tried to get Hugo to turn himself in to get police help but changed her mind when he told her that could result in them being harmed. After Tony and Hugo had left to meet 'Killer', Rachel sent the police after them without revealing Hugo was involved. She continued to express her opinion that Hugo should leave town rather than endanger them and both she and Tony hesitated to head out to the farm when Hugo was injured in a shootout, only for her to accept as a doctor she had a duty to treat anyone.
Rachel expressed some light hearted disapproval of Tony's scuffle with John but initially approved of Tony's plan to start up a female boxing class until she learned that it would involve actual sparring rather than just moves and fitness. Despite Tony's attempts to talk her round, she kept stressing the seriousness of the worst boxing related injuries. Tony even tried to get Sid to talk to her but she dismissed his and Tony's arguments. She was annoyed again when Penn invested in Tony's boxing programme, insisting she didn't want to talk about it.
Follow us on Twitter for all the latest Home and Away news, and be the first to find out about the latest site updates.
Find out more about your favourite Home and Away locations, plan your own route or take a guided tour of Palm Beach and the surrounding area.
Our biannual update is now complete, with all current characters updated to the end of June 2013.
Our credits centre has recently been updated with the final sets of opening titles for the 1991 season.