Hailing from Greater Manchester, film and TV actor Kieran O'Brien got an early start in the business, landing his first series lead at 14 on the BBC family comedy "Gruey. " Roles on the long-running youth-oriented dramas "Children's Ward" and "Dramarama" followed, with O'Brien tackling his most high-profile television role as a regular on the Robbie Coltrane-led police procedural "Cracker." O'Brien, who'd made his feature debut as a kidnapped lad in Richard Loncraine's 1987 thriller "Bellman and True," hit the big screen again in 1999's Brit comedy "Virtual Sexuality." He then turned up in a small part in the indie drama "24-Hour Party People," director Michael Winterbottom's stylish survey of the '70s Manchester music scene. Winterbottom guided the actor through a much bigger role in the sexually explicit romance "9 Songs," a festival favorite that stirred controversy with its full-on depictions of O'Brien and his co-star Margo Stilley's on-camera lovemaking. O'Brien vehemently defended the art-house sensation ("It's only sex"), and he re-teamed with Winterbottom for a brief role in the director's next feature, "Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story." In 2005, the actor appeared in the soccer saga "Goal! The Dream Begins" as a tough Newcastle footballer, a role he reprised in the film's sequel, "Goal II: Living the Dream." He also returned to one of his better-known parts for the 2006 TV-movie revival of "Cracker," while continuing to light up the small screen in recurring roles on the police drama "Holby Blue" and the crime drama "Blue Murder."