A BBC producer has branded the late crocodile hunter Steve Irwin a "showman" more interested in his own stardom than the animal kingdom, British media reports say.

'Planet Earth' producer Alastair Fothergill launched an attack on the Australian TV star in an interview with British magazine, The Radio Times. Irwin was killed by a stingray while making a wildlife programme in September.

"What Steve Irwin did for a living was as different from what we do as it's possible to get," Fothergill said.

"Let's face it, Steve was a showman. Yes, he introduced a lot of people to natural history, but his basic stock in trade was, 'Aren't I brave, and aren't animals dangerous?' The fact is, I'm not interested in human stars. I'm only interested in animal stars."

His comments emerged the day after Irwin's widow Terri fought back tears on stage at the British National Television Awards.

She presented a lifetime achievement award to nature documentaries star David Attenborough and said he had been her husband's inspiration.

"Of course, as a television wildlife presenter, Steve was larger than life, but his real, true love was conservation," Terri said.