Bindi Irwin, the 8-year-old daughter of late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, will launch her new TV series in June with her father appearing in some episodes, Discovery Kids Channel said Tuesday.
The exuberant, khaki-clad Australian naturalist and his daughter began filming the 26-part cable TV show, “Bindi: The Jungle Girl,” in early 2006 with the aim of getting children more interested in wildlife conservation.
But Irwin, 44, died in September after a stingray’s serrated barb pierced his heart while he was filming scenes for a documentary off Australia’s northeast coast.
After his death, Irwin's daughter and her U.S.-born mother, Terri, decided to finish filming Bindi’s series.
Critics in Australia and elsewhere accused Terri Irwin and her advisers of trying to rush Bindi into show business, saying she is too young to cope. But the family brushed off the criticism, with Bindi repeatedly saying she wants to continue her father’s legacy.
“Those closest to her know that she deeply believed in her father’s mission to protect wildlife,” the cable network said in a statement announcing the June 9 premiere.
Discovery Kids Channel said the new series features Bindi introducing viewers to the world of wildlife from her cozy treehouse high up in the rain forest, with both her parents dropping in to share stories of animal adventures.
The night before the series premiere, sister channel Animal Planet is presenting “My Daddy the Croc Hunter,” in which Bindi, with her mother’s help, hosts her first special and shares her experience of growing up with her famous father.
She shows clips from her early childhood and footage from Irwin’s last crocodile research adventure in August, when Bindi helped him with some croc captures.
In the nine months since Irwin’s death, Bindi has rarely been out of the public spotlight.
She spoke at her father’s funeral and earlier this year toured the United States to kick off her American show business career, performing her “Bindi and the Crocmen” stage show. She was also named a tourism ambassador for Australia.