Last Night’s TV – Kirsten’s Topless Ambition

kirsten o'brien

Kids TV presenter Kirsten O’Brien tried to find out in this show whether she could boost her career – and her income one assumes – by getting her kit off for lads mags. After all, it’s worked for lots of other ladies who started out in kids TV; remember Gail Porter doing that naked FHM photo that was ‘screened’ across the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben?

fhm gail porter big ben

So, having bluntly wondered aloud whether her “norks” were lads mag material and with a determination to hear the worst if it came to it – and it did – she intrepidly set off to find out if her bod, norks included, was good enough to be centerfold material and if, as she put it “getting my norks out” would enliven an otherwise relatively mediocre celebrity career…

She began with an endearingly blunt introduction to her mission statement… “Here’s my quandary… I’ve been a kids TV presenter for ten years; I’ve seen other presenters shoot past me in the fame game and quite often it’s been because they’ve got their norks out for a men’s mag, so, should I do it? Does it work?”

Anthea Turner certainly didn’t think it would and told her that they – meaning herself and Kirsten – weren’t “the sexy types” which understandably caused Kirsten some annoyance and angst. Well fair dos; who wants to be compared with Ms Turner? Likewise, the aging and lounge-lizardy Peter Stringfellow, in a very ungentlemanly manner, laughed at her attempts and poll dancing and informed her that funny and sexy can’t co-exist in women…

Mind you, this from a man who thinks orange skin goes well with a thinning white mullet – I wouldn’t give his opinions even a second’s thought, primarily because it’s not the ‘head’ on his shoulders that does his thinking for him… Oh and Peter? Little newflash for you; funny and sexy can and do co-exist in women… ever heard of a lady called Jennifer Aniston for instance? Plus, they’ve given us women the vote and we’re allowed to drive now and everything, but I know that wasn’t the case ‘in your day’.

However, Kirsten explained that her decision to move in a new direction – whether that’s posing topless or something else – had been caused by the shocking suicide of her SMart! co-presenter Mark Speight. During her grieving over him, she came to the conclusion evidently that life’s too damn short to sit in a tiny studio with a puppet and perform the occasional stand-up comedy routine.

Additionally, her close friend Anjellica Bell had become far better known for appearing on The One Show in sexy lingerie than she ever was for being a kids TV presenter. Anjellica was of the opinion that Kirsten “should go for it” adding, “You’ve worked with an aardvark for how long?? Come on! You’ve got to do something drastic.” Now that’s not a statement you hear every day is it? Unless you overhear an aardvark keeper talking with a zoo colleague…

So Kirsten set off onto the streets of London – which it turns out aren’t paved with gold at all; shocker – to conduct an on-the-spot poll vis-à-vis her own celebrity status by asking random strangers, “Do you know who I am?” and the majority didn’t have a Scooby who she was. Nonetheless, a sweet old man wanted his picture taken with her but reluctantly told her she was “A bit too kiddie-kiddie” to be taken seriously as anything but.

Some of her random strangers were clearly struggling with breaking the news that though she was pretty and had a lovely slim figure, she wasn’t really the kind of women they’d necessarily rush out and buy a copy of a lads mag to see in the buff. One man – an obnoxious ‘stylist’ called Nick Ede – was far less tactful and told her, “Men are not going to w**k over you.” Nice. What a charming man. He didn’t make himself anymore endearing when he suggested that she sell her story regarding the impact Mark’s death had had on her and she was as repulsed as I was by his suggestion. Kudos to her for not telling him to shove his opinions up his own orifice, sideways.

Kirsten’s dad, who is a charming man, thought she should take up current affairs presenting rather than nork displaying, but Kirsten didn’t see that working… “That wouldn’t suit my personality at all because I cackle all the time!” she said, and indeed, I can’t picture her next to Gordon Brown asking serious questions about the relative merits of the economic impact of Play-Doh or if finger painting should be on the national curriculum.

However, Kirsten finally made her way to the nork mecca, FHM, to find out if they could transform her from giggly kiddies TV presenter to male fantasy material, and the answer was dishearteningly “No” in short.

The longer version is that FHM’s deputy editor, Chris Bell told her, “I think you’re kind of borderline. You’ve got an acceptable face, you’ve got an acceptable body; It’s not absolutely knock-out…” but to be fair to him, he did have the good grace to be embarrassed by his rather uncomplimentary assessment but Kirsten bravely consoled him by saying, “No, no, no… that’s just what I want to hear” but was it? I think she was just trying to make him feel less squirmy.

And frankly, if a lovely slim frame and a very pretty face is only “acceptable” I think I’ll put my application to FHM on the backburner indefinitely. I’d say Kirsten was an extremely attractive woman, and I’m not gay, but if I was – or a man – I would…

But bless her, by the time she’d had enough people say in one way or another, “No ta” she had a little cry, and who can blame her? Rejection isn’t fun on any level but when it’s about your appearance – which still, I repeat, I can see nothing but attractiveness in – it’s going to sting.

However, I don’t think Kirsten ever really had any true desire to be a pin-up, I think she just wants a job and she’d quite like to be more of a household name; that is, in houses who have people over 5 years old living in them… and if making documentaries about trying to get jobs gets her jobs, job done!

Good luck Kirsten and if it’s any consolation, if I was a TV exec, I’d hire you as a presenter and wouldn’t insist you work with anteaters or aardvarks or whatever that thing is/was. Nor would I ask you to work with Anthea Turner or Peter Stringfellow or that noxious toad Ede, whoever the hell he is anyway. He’s probably too busy ham shanking over Jordan anyway…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.