Kirsten O'Brien

Kirsten O'Brien

Infobox Celebrity
name = Kirsten O'Brien

caption =Kirsten at the Lighthouse Gala Auction in aid of Terrence Higgins Trust. Photo by Piers Allardyce.
birth_date = birth date and age|1972|02|23
birth_place = Middlesbrough, England
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = Radio and TV Presenter
salary =
networth =
spouse =
website =
footnotes =
children =

Kirsten O'Brien (born 23 February 1972 in Middlesbrough) is an English television presenter.

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 - he was a civil engineer - she spent her childhood moving from country-to-country, including spells in Algeria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Singapore and England.


She got her first broadcast experience on the student radio station at Birmingham Polytechnic, which led to her first proper job at Tyne Tees Television, where in 1995 she made her presenting debut on a children's science programme.

Her big break came in 1996 when she joined the team of presenters on the BBC's children's strand CBBC. She stayed there for three-and-a-half years, during which time she became best-known for her partnership with smart-talking puppet Otis the Aardvark. Both O'Brien and Otis also co-presented with other people (and sometimes solo), but they really shone as a double-act, so much so that the 1997 Saturday morning spin-off, "Saturday Aardvark", was entirely built around them. Puppeteer Dave Chapman would often reduce O'Brien to helpless laughter 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. Her artistic skills have been put to good use as co-host of "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 discovered a previously unsuspected talent when challenged to take part in a lumberjack competition for the BBC series "Bring It On". She performed a stand up show during the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2006, entitled, "Lesley's Lunch Hour - Not During Lunch, And Not Quite An Hour", meaning that she did not present "Smile" that month.

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, teams of boys and girls 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 has made numerous appearances on "Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive".

She co-presented with Mark Speight on children's art shows, "SMart" (CBBC) and "SMarteenies" (CBeebies).

Personal life

O'Brien plays tennis, and has taken part in swimming, abseiling and netball events for charity. She also claims to hold the world record for wearing 42 socks on one foot and another record for tapping. [A quote from "The Steve Show" - BBC 6 Music, Sunday 22 July 2007 ]


External links

* [ review of "Confessions of a Children's TV Presenter" at Edinburgh Fringe 2007]

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