Character Spotlight - Rachel Armstrong (Nov - Dec)

RachelBanner.jpgArriving in the Bay three years ago as a bubbly and kindhearted psychiatrist, Dr Rachel Armstrong was described as a breath of fresh air when she first showed up on our screens.

An old friend of Leah's, she soon embarked on a controversial relationship with patient Kim Hyde. This landed her in the bad books with the hospital, eventually leading to her being struck off but then reinstated and offered a new position in A&E. Even with her career on the line, however, Rachel was still keen to pursue her new and tumultious romance. At the same time as this, she was also having to deal with sexual harassment from senior doctor Helpman.

Gaining more insight into her family, we learnt that her relationship with dad Robert, also a doctor, was 'frosty'. Her mum Elaine suffered permanent memory damage after a car accident in which a drunk Robert was driving, and his insistence that she should follow in his footsteps by entering the medical world as an A&E doctor certainly didn't create a pleasant atmosphere between the two of them. The last straw came when Rachel learnt that Robert was drunk while performing surgery on the day of the car accident. The patient he was operating on died and the family was seeking compensation. Rachel couldn't find it within herself to cover for him, with Robert eventually leaving along with their savings.

It was about time something good happened to poor Dr Armstrong and although her happiness didn't last for long, at least we got a few smiles out of her. Just prior to Jack and Martha's wedding, Rachel was offered a medical scholarship in New York. At first she was hesitant to accept, worrying about the practicalities of such a huge move, especially with her and Kim so strong. But after overhearing a conversation between Leah and Rachel, Colleen let the news slip to Kim, completely oblivious to the fact that he had no idea what she was going on about! Having become informed, Kim assured Rachel that there would be no problem with him going too and that she she shouldn't turn down the opportunity of a lifetime. After she agreed to take up the offer, Rachel was about to get another big suprise as to prove just how serious he was about her, Kim got down on one knee and proposed! Rachel accepted and was ecstatic, barely able to take in everything that was happening.

The couple's happiness was shortlived, however, as the explosion at Jack and Martha's wedding resulted in the death of her mum Elaine. More heartbreak was on the way for her too, when it was revealed that the helicopter carrying Kim to the city for treatment had crashed in the middle of the bush, leaving him lost along with Martha, Robbie, Kit, Belle and the pilot. Rachel then proceeded into a downward spiral involving drink and pills. Her wake up call came when she had to have her stomach pumped after being found unconsious.

When Kim returned alive and well, Rachel was over the moon. But...I'm sure you know what's coming...her happiness was again shortlived when it was revealed that Kim and Kit had spent the night together in the bush. Rachel had a tough time trusting Kim again, but the couple eventually managed to sort out their problems even if they couldn't forget them.

2006 certainly delivered its blows for Rachel, as yet another revelation caused heartache for her. After suffering from mumps, it was revealed that Kim had been left infertile. Desperate for a child, a devastated Rachel saw a golden opportunity to look after one, even if she wasn't their biological parent, when Lee Morton left baby Joe after her boyfriend told her he wasn't part of the plan if they were going to move away. Rachel loved the idea of looking after Joe and soon enough so did Kim, who was reluctant at first. Before long they were adopting baby Joe and looking foward to their new life together. It didn't pan out that way at all, however. On the evening of their wedding, Lee returned to the newlywed's doorstep asking for her son back. She'd supposedly changed and was desperate to care for him. The events afterwards were heartbreaking, as Rachel agreed to give him back and said a tearful goodbye to the little boy they'd grown to adore.

2006 started badly for Rachel and, oh my, was it going to end badly. As the final moments of the year passed away, Kit Hunter rocked up on Rachel and Kim's doorstep...pregnant. Kim was the dad, and were him and Rachel in for a year of happiness and sadness! The year's events for Rachel mostly involved her frail marriage with Kim, her feelings towards Kit and the reapperance of her%