Who is Netflix's Baby Reindeer based on? Real story explored

Richard Gadd (left) and Jessica Gunning (right) in a still from Baby Reindeer (Image via YouTube/Netflix, 0:46)
Richard Gadd (left) and Jessica Gunning (right) in a still from Baby Reindeer (Image via YouTube/Netflix, 0:46)

Baby Reindeer, the newest hit on Netflix, is a striking series that mixes fiction and reality. Since it premiered on April 11, it is currently ranked #1 on the streaming platform. The Netflix series tells the tale of a failed comedian named Donny Dunn, whose act of kindness toward a helpless woman accidentally sets off a suffocating obsession that threatens to end their lives.

The show starts with Donny talking about his stalker, Martha, who keeps calling him her "baby reindeer." In the trailer, Donny goes to the cops to complain about Martha showing up everywhere and constantly emailing him. But it seems like the police aren't doing much to help him out.

The miniseries is an adaptation of Scottish comedian Richard Gadd's autobiographical one-man show of the same name.


Netflix's Baby Reindeer is based on Richard Gadd's story

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The Netflix show Baby Reindeer is an intense drama inspired by the true story of Richard Gadd, the creator and main actor, who was stalked by a woman for four years. His stalker called him by the nickname Baby Reindeer.

In the show, a fictitious Donny, modeled after Gadd, meets Martha and their relationship turns twisted and destructive. Donny faces personal issues throughout the show, such as his s**ual orientation and past trauma.

Gadd has made it clear that although the series has some shocking moments, it captures the emotional realities of life based on his own experiences and interactions with real people.


Details about Richard Gadd's true story that inspired Baby Reindeer on Netflix

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Richard Gadd was on This Morning on April 17, 2024, chatting about his hit TV show, Baby Reindeer, which is based on his own creepy stalking experience. In the show, Gadd plays a guy named Donny Dunn, an aspiring comedian stuck living with his ex's mom and drowning in regret.

So, one day Martha (played by Jessica Gunning) is sitting at his bar, and he starts feeling sorry for her. He sees her as a fellow broken soul who just needs a little bit of kindness. Little did he know, this small act of compassion would completely turn his life upside down. Martha ends up bombarding him with 40,000 emails and 350 hours of voicemails.

She was constantly following him around, showing up at his house, job, and comedy shows. But instead of letting it get to him, Gadd turned it into a hit TV show on Netflix. In the interview, he talks about why he decided to share his story and how he turned a tough situation into a successful series.

Matthew Mulot, Jessica Gunning, Weronika Tofilska, and Richard Gadd in a behind-the-scenes moment (Image via Netflix/Daniel Dioguardi)
Matthew Mulot, Jessica Gunning, Weronika Tofilska, and Richard Gadd in a behind-the-scenes moment (Image via Netflix/Daniel Dioguardi)

He talks about how writing and performing helped him deal with the trauma, and he also mentions how the police didn't take his stalking report seriously at first, showing the importance of better training and resources for handling these types of cases.

As for if the real Martha was put behind bars, Gadd told The Times,

“I didn’t want to throw someone who was that level of mentally unwell in prison.”

Gadd looks back on how this experience has made him more careful in his relationships and selective about whom he confides in.


All episodes of Baby Reindeer are streaming on Netflix.

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