Dunedin-born Bridget Armstrong has found success in a range of British and Kiwi stage and screen roles. At 18 she joined the touring NZ Players, where she recreated characters as diverse as Anne Frank and Elizabeth I. Later in London, Armstrong showed her comedic talents and played Katherine Mansfield for the BBC. Back in New Zealand she acted on TV's Gather Your Dreams and Roger Hall film Middle Age Spread.

In England I achieved most of my goals. The West End, television — the major movie. Bridget Armstrong, in a 1979 interview with magazine Art New Zealand
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Once a Convent Girl

1995, Subject - Television

Growing up in one of New Zealand’s many convent schools before they were reordered by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, was an experience many found tough. This documentary explores the stories of the girls who endured the nuns’ strict rule, including interviews with Ginette McDonald, Moana Maniapoto and painter Jacqueline Fahey, plus some of the nuns themselves. They discuss discipline, education, their thoughts on becoming nuns and how despite all the rules, they wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

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Desperate Remedies

1993, As: Mary Anne - Film

This stylishly high camp melodrama from directors Stewart Main and Peter Wells won acclaim, after debuting at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival. In the imaginary 19th-century town of Hope, draper Dorothea Brooks (Jennifer Ward-Lealand) is desperate to save her sister from the clutches of opium, sex and the dastardly Fraser. She begs hunky migrant Lawrence Hayes to help; but complications ensue. Inspired partly by 1930s and 40s Hollywood melodramas, Desperate Remedies was sumptously shot by Leon Narbey (Whale Rider). Richard King writes about the film here.

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Jack Be Nimble

1993, As: Typing Teacher - Film

In director Garth Maxwell’s 1993 gothic horror twins Jack and Dora (late US actor Alexis Arquette and Kiwi Sarah Smuts-Kennedy) are separated while young; their adult reunion sees them battling the trauma of their past while being pursued by Jack’s sadistic step sisters. Complete with ESP,and a steam-driven hypnosis machine, Maxwell makes an exuberant and surreal contribution to the cinema of unease. New York Times’ Stephen Holden lauded the heady head-spinner as “a superior genre film” with a “feverish intensity that recalls scenes from Hitchcock and De Palma.” 

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Joyful and Triumphant

1993, As: Alice Warner - Television

Classic Kiwi play Joyful and Triumphant followed the Bishop family over four decades, from 1949 to 1989. Written by Robert Lord, it charted changes in New Zealand society by focusing on the minutae of Christmas Day family dynamics. The play was first performed to sellout audiences in 1992, a month after Lord died. It won multiple Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. Directed by Peter Sharp (The Fire-Raiser), this TV adaptation features Robyn Malcolm and Goodbye Pork Pie's Tony Barry — plus Catherine Downes and Bruce Phillips, who both appeared in the original production. 

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Red Delicious

1991, Actor - Short Film

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The Billy T James Show (Sitcom) - Excerpts

1990, As: Hermione - Television

In these excerpts from his last TV series — a family based sitcom — Billy T has to deal with his radical older daughter who wants to get a moko, a teenage boy trying to smuggle beer into his younger daughter’s birthday party, a defamation writ, and another tribe becoming his landlord. There are varying degrees of help from his wife (Ilona Rodgers), his aggressively dim Australian brother-in-law (Mark Hadlow) and his daughter’s painfully politically correct pakeha boyfriend (Mark Wright), as well as cameos from Temuera Morrison, Martin Henderson and Blair Strang.

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The Shadow Trader (Part Two)

1989, As: Lesley Van Krooze - Television

Set in a Rogernomics-era 'New Auckland' world of property deals and horse racing, the second part of this 1989 mini-series sees the brassy odd couple Tammy (Annie Whittle) and Joanna (Miranda Harcourt) in deep water. The working class battler and the art consultant have done up their inherited greasy spoon, but they're the "only fly in the ointment" of the 'Vision 2000' scheme of a nefarious developer (Brit import James Faulkner). Girl power meets utopian unitary planning as the duo find bones in the basement, and get too close to the secrets of Huntercorp HQ. 

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Ruth Rendell Mysteries

1997, As: Old Katherine - Television

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Seekers

1986, As: Maggie Settler - Television

This 80s TV series sees real estate agent Selwyn, TV producer Nardia (early turns from Temuera Morrison and Jennifer Ward-Lealand) and art student Ben (Kerry McKay) as a trio of young Wellingtonions drawn together by a mysterious invitation. At an antique shop dinner they discover they share a colourful birth mother, before becoming players in a game for a legacy of $250,000. Conceived by Brian Bell, Seekers was one of a series of teen-orientated dramas made in the mid-80s (along with Heroes and Peppermint Twist). The 16 episodes screened from February 1986.

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Seekers - I Hope You Know What You're Doing (First Episode)

1986, As: Maggie Settler - Television

This Wellington-set 80s TV series sees real estate agent Selwyn, TV producer Nardia (early turns from Temuera Morrison and Jennifer Ward-Lealand) and art student Ben (Kerry McKay) as a young trio united by a mysterious invitation. At an antique shop dinner the three adopted children discover that they share a colourful birth mother, before becoming players in a game for a legacy of $250,000 (and more existential prizes). This first episode features ouija boards and a funeral at Futuna Chapel; alongside 80s knitwear, a saxophone score and du jour animated titles. 

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Heroes - First Episode

1984, As: Head waitress - Television

Long before the comedy of Flight of the Conchords, Heroes followed the triumphs and pitfalls of a band trying to make it in the mid-80s NZ music biz. It marked the first major role for Jay Laga’aia,  and early lead gigs for Michael Hurst and Margaret Umbers. In this first episode the band gets together as Dave (Hurst) ditches his covers band, flunks a TV audition, and hooks up opportunist flatmate Ron (Laga’aia), synth player Peter (John Gibson, who co-wrote the series music) and bass player Maxine (Umbers). Synth and leopard skin abound.

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Came a Hot Friday

1984, As: Aunty Agg - Film

“The funniest, liveliest, most exuberant film ever made in New Zealand”. So said critic Nicholas Reid, a year after Came a Hot Friday became 1985's biggest local hit. Though Billy T’s loony Mexican-Māori cowboy is beloved by fans, he is but one eccentric here among many — as two scheming conmen hit town, and encounter bookies, boozers, country hicks, nasty crim Marshall Napier, and Prince Tui Teka playing saxophone. Until the arrival of The Piano in 1993, Ian Mune and Dean Parker’s award-loaded adaptation remained NZ's third biggest local hit. Ian Pryor writes about the film here.

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An Age Apart

1983, As: Alice Hastings - Television

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Among the Cinders

1983, As: Helga Flinders - Film

Author Maurice Shadbolt went before the cameras to play father to the main character, in this adaptation of his acclaimed coming of age novel. Teen Nick (Paul O’Shea) is estranged from his family, and blaming himself for his Māori mate's climbing death. He runs away to his straight talking grandfather (Derek Hardwick) who takes him bush  and loses his virginity to Sally (a first film role for Rebecca Gibney). Produced by Pacific Films legend John O’Shea, the NZ-German co-production was directed by Rolf Hädrich (Stop Train 349). The film debuted in NZ on television. 

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The Mystery of the Disappearing Schoolgirls

1980, As: Queen Fortunatus

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Middle Age Spread

1979, As: Isobel - Film

An early case of a Kiwi play being adapted for the screen, Middle Age Spread asks whether adultery is inevitable (and whether it can stay secret). Grant Tilly won acclaim as "an antipodian Woody Allen" for his philandering deputy headmaster fearing a future of stress and marital dissatisfaction. Roger Hall's hit comedy was adapted in the first flush of the Kiwi film renaissance. It marks the movie debut of many talents — including Tilly, director John Reid, writer Keith Aberdein, and cinematographer Alun Bollinger. Middle Age Spread was the first Kiwi feature to screen on the BBC.

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Gather Your Dreams - Episode Three

1978, As: Ida - Television

Kidult drama Gather your Dreams follows Kitty (Kerry McGregor), an aspiring performer travelling with her family's vaudeville troupe in 1930s NZ. In this episode, the troupe competes for viewers with boxing promoter Ted Crawley (George Henare) at a Depression relief camp. Troupe patriarch Wallace (Terence Cooper) plots to best Crawley by managing "Haggis the brawling Scot" (actor's agent and On the Mat legend Robert Bruce’s acting debut). But the 'worker's hope' turns out to be a stooge with a glass jaw. Will coaching from Kitty save the day? The show must go on!

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For The Love of Benji

1977, As: Elizabeth - Film

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Horse in the House

1977, As: Mrs Webb

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Ripping Yarns

1977, As: Lady Agatha

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The Incredible Sarah

1976, As: Marie

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The Many Wives of Patrick

1976 - 1978, As: Laura Ryder

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Rutland Weekend Television

1975 - 1976, As: Various roles - Television

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The School for Scandal (BBC Play of the Month)

1975, As: Lady Sneerwell - Television

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Brotherly Love

1974, As: Sarah

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Funny Ha-Ha

1974, As: Anthea

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A Picture of Katherine Mansfield

1973, As: Jinnie - Television

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Murder Must Advertise

1973, As: Dian de Momerie

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My Wife Next Door

1972, As: Marge

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The Goodies

1971, As: Hazel Nuts

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Doctor in the House

1969, As: Diana Ludlake

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The Liver Birds

1971, As: Victoria

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Man in a Suitcase

1968, As: Louise Baines

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Take a Pair of Private Eyes

1966, As: Cornelia

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Thirty-Minute Theatre

1966 - 1972, As: Various roles

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A Hard Day's Night

1964, As: Makeup Woman - Film

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A Home of Your Own

1964, Actor - Short Film

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Compact

1964 - 1965, As: Tessa March

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We Shall See

1964, As: Rosemary Layton - Film

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Crossroads

1964, As: Miriam Brookes - Television

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The Amorous Mr Prawn

1962, As: Private Biddy O'Hara - Film

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The Scales of Justice

1963-1966, As: Various roles

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Harpers West One

1961, As: Gillian Hulls

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The World of Tim Frazer

1961, As: Sue

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The Pohutukawa Tree (BBC adaptation)

1959, As: Sylvia Atkinson - Television

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Emergency-Ward 10

1961, As: Nurse Protheroe

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The Benny Hill Show

1965, As: Various roles - Television

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ITV Play of the Week

1967, As Rita Foley - Television