Half-British, half-Norwegian Kirsten O'Brien had an exciting childhood - her father (a civil engineer) had jobs all over the world which meant that she grew up in all sorts of exotic climes, such as Algeria, Kuwait, Nigeria, Singapore and finally Middlesborough.
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 Kirsten 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, but her tendency to "corpse" on air just endeared her to viewers even more.
Kirsten left the CBBC presenting 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), and she is one of the presenters of BBC7's Little Toe Radio Show.
As well as being arty, Kirsten is quite sporty - she plays tennis, and has taken part in swimming, abseiling and netball events for charity. Last year she played Peter Pan in pantomime, and she even dicovered a previously unsuspected talent when challenged to take part in a lumberjack competition for the BBC series Bring It On.… Expand
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