Donny Dunn has an intense look, Martha smiles in Baby Reindeer on Netflix

The fallout of Netflix series Baby Reindeer as woman accused of being ‘real-life stalker’ threatens to sue in rant

What's real, and what's not?

Baby Reindeer on Netflix is based on Scottish performer Richard Gadd‘s autobiographical stage show and his real life experiences of being stalked and sexually assaulted.

But in the days following the dark comedy drama dropping on Netflix, speculation has been rife about how authentically Richard has created characters.

Amid the fallout, unfounded accusations have spread on social media, leading to Richard to shut down allegations about who may have assaulted him in reality.

And others have come forward to make claims in the press about recognising the all-too-real inspiration behind stalker character Martha, too.

Martha speaks with Donny in Baby Reindeer on Netflix
Martha stalks Donny, played by Richard Gadd who was stalked in real life, in Baby Reindeer (Credit: YouTube)

Baby Reindeer on Netflix

In Baby Reindeer, crashingly bad stand up and mildly compassionate barman Donny acquires an unwanted admirer after he takes pity on a customer – Martha – and gives her a drink for free.

Within long, his entire life is interrupted by Martha’s intrusive emails and demands upon his time… even though Donny begins to wonder whether the connection they have may be more two-sided than stalkers tend to have with their victims.

However, Martha is not Donny’s first encounter with a relationship (of sorts) wrapped up in abusive behaviours. As an aspiring writer, Donny was bowled over by a hero writer of his – Darrien O’Connor – taking interest in him. But before long, that mentorship association is also muddied by dependence, substance abuse, and serious sexual assault.

Donny sits on a bench in Baby Reindeer on Netflix
Donny Dunn takes a moment during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Credit: YouTube)

Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer

Baby Reindeer has been billed as “a captivating true story”. But some viewers have speculated wildly about Darrien’s real-life identity.

That has led to unfounded social media accusations against theatre director Sean Foley due to a claimed likeness to the actor playing Darrien.

Sean, who recently stepped down as artistic director of the Birmingham Rep, has subsequently revealed he contacted police who are investigating abusive posts made against hm.

Furthermore, Richard himself has appealed on social media: “People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly getting caught up in speculation. Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of our show.”

Martha speaks with Donny in Baby Reindeer on Netflix
Could the ‘real Martha’ end up being identified? (Credit: YouTube)

Martha from Baby Reindeer identity

Richard has previously insisted specifics about his own experiences in reality have been changed in his work.

He is said to have claimed the person represented as Martha ‘wouldn’t recognise herself’.

However, the tabloids have found people who reckon the ‘real life’ Martha is known to them.

That includes lawyer Laura Wray who claims to have been stalked by the same person.

It brought so many things back to me that I’d forgotten.

She told MailOnline: “It brought so many things back to me that I’d forgotten. She did the same to me, made my life a nightmare. He has got her spot-on. His reaction was exactly the same as mine. I felt sorry for her.”

After being let go, the ‘real Martha’ left threatening voicemails, including a death threat against Laura’s MP husband Jimmy Wray. She also claimed Laura hit her child to social workers.

Baby Reindeer’s Martha at one point is characterised as having ‘targeted a barrister’s deaf child’ in a previous incident.

The ‘real’ Martha

Furthermore, a woman is threatening to sue Netflix after claiming she is the person behind Martha.

She recently told the Scottish Sun: “I have a claim against Netflix as this is being billed as part of a true story. I’m a highly competent lawyer. I’d have to do it myself. I’m very good.

“I have a photographic memory and can memorise huge files. I was top in my school at everything.”

The woman also fumed: “There’s a fat actress that’s supposed to be me. He’s come up with this character called Martha and he has put me right in the frame. This is a programme for the 20-somethings. The people with no lives, no jobs, whatever. I don’t want to be a celebrity.”

She also told the Daily Record recently: “I’ve had death threats as a result of his show despite the fact that a lot of the things he claimed are just not true.

“I have not watched Baby Reindeer but I have seen various things. I was in Richard Gadd’s company on occasions but I didn’t stalk him like he claims. His story is that this is a gross intrusion into my privacy. I haven’t seen him for 12 years.”

ED! has contacted Netflix for comment.


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Robert Leigh
Freelance writer