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Kirsten O'Brien: Wikis


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Kirsten O'Brien
Born Kirsten Sarah O'Brien
February 23, 1972 (1972-02-23) (age 38)
Nunthorpe, Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
Other names Kirsten Lindsey O'Brien
Ethnicity Irish Britons
Norwegian Britons
Occupation Presenter
Employer BBC
Home town Middlesbrough
Known for presenting SMart
Religion Christianity

Kirsten O'Brien (born 23 February 1972 in Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough) is an English television presenter and stand-up comic.

She presents SMart, and presented Smile and Totally Doctor Who alongside Barney Harwood on CBBC.


Early life

As a result of her father's work as a civil engineer she spent her childhood moving from country to country, including spells in Algeria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Singapore and England. Her Norwegian mother Karen died of cancer aged 52 in Redcar and Cleveland[1] just before O'Brien was confirmed a part in SMart, 1999. O'Brien has a younger brother, Tim.


O'Brien studied media and communications at the University of Central England in Birmingham, graduating in 1993.[2] She got her first broadcast experience on the university's student radio station which led to her first job in 1995 at Tyne Tees Television where she made her presenting debut on a children's science programme.

In 1996 she joined the team of presenters on the BBC's children's channel CBBC. She stayed there for three-and-a-half years during which time she became best-known for her partnership with arrogant puppet Otis the Aardvark. Both O'Brien and Otis also co-presented with other people (and often solo). The 1997 Saturday morning spin-off Saturday Aardvark was entirely built around them. Puppeteer Dave Chapman would often reduce O'Brien to tears of helpless rage with his ad-libs.

O'Brien left the CBBC on-air presentation team in 1999 but is still a regular on children's TV and radio. She has co-hosted SMart and its spin-offs SMart On the Road and SMarteenies (for the pre-school CBeebies channel). On radio she was one of the presenters of BBC 7's Little Toe Radio Show.

In 2004 she played Peter Pan in pantomime. The same year O'Brien successfully took part in a lumberjack competition for the BBC series Bring It On. She performed a sketch show during the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2006 entitled Lesley's Lunch Hour - Not During Lunch, And Not Quite An Hour along with double act partner Ruth Bratt. Then in 2007 she took her comedy show Kirsten O'Brien - Confessions of a Children's TV Presenter to Edinburgh.

Between 28 May and 15 June 2007, she co-presented Springwatch Trackers alongside Steve Backshall. Transmitted live on BBC Two from a farm in Devon and repeated later in the day on the CBBC Channel the show featured teams of boys and girls who were set a series of Tracker challenges.

She has been a guest on Stephen Merchant's The Steve Show on BBC 6 Music, Through the Keyhole and several times on Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive.

O'Brien filmed "Kirsten's Topless Ambition", a documentary for BBC3 that aired on 28 April 2009, in which she was "facing a huge decision - whether to do what many other female presenters had done before her and take her clothes off for a lads' mag to try to clinch bigger, better presenting jobs and a more adult audience."[3] Ultimately she only received one offer and opted against doing this and decided to perform more stand up comedy. She also stated on the show that she was ready to leave SMart since Speight's death and felt it was not right to stay. Kirsten then stayed with CBBC to take over as host of game show Gimme a Break.

Since 2009 she has also appeared on the morning show GMTV presenting on-location. On the 19th February she and George Lamb presented EastEnders: The Aftermath where they interviewed members of the cast about the live episode.

In 2010 Kirsten along with actor and friend Will Mellor appeared in The World's Toughest Driving Tests an ultimate driving challenge. They traveled the world mastering the biggest and hardest-to-drive vehicles to find out who is the better driver. In the first episode, aired February 2010, Kirsten won when she beat Will driving a Romanian TR-85 combat tank.

Year Title Role Notes
1999-present SMart Herself CBBC
2002-2003 SMarteenies Herself CBeebies
2004 Peter Pan Peter Pan Theatre Production
2004 Bring it On Herself 1 episode
2005-2007 Smile Herself CBBC
2007 Springwatch Trackers Herself 28 May-15 June 2007
2007 The Fanbanta Football Show Herself Football show for Channel 4
2007 Totally Doctor Who Herself Spin-off series of Doctor Who
2008-present Help! Teacher is Coming to Stay Herself Game Show for CBBC
2009 Kirsten's Topless Ambition Herself Documentary BBC3
2009 Britain's Most Embarrassing Parents Herself Documentary BBC3
2009-present Gimme a Break Herself Game show for CBBC
unknown-to present Big Toe Books Herself Story show for Radio 7
2009 Total Wipeout Herself Celebrity Special Episode
2009-present GMTV Herself
2010 The World's Toughest Driving Tests Herself

Personal life

O'Brien plays tennis, and has taken part in swimming, abseiling and netball events for charity. She is a keen Middlesbrough Football Club fan; she has been involved in charity work with the club, including the Premier League's Creating Chances program.[4] She has asthma.[5]


  1. ^ Deaths England and Wales 1984-2006
  2. ^
  3. ^ BBC3's Kirsten's Topless Ambition
  4. ^,,12306~1321106,00.html
  5. ^ Mail Online — Triggered by grief, the asthma attack that nearly killed me

External links



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