Baby Reindeer star tells fans to stop trying to guess who fictional abuser is based on

Richard Gadd
Richard Gadd said 'people I love, have worked with, and admire' had become the focus of speculation - David Rose/The Telegraph

Richard Gadd, the Baby Reindeer star, has warned that online sleuths are falsely accusing innocent people of being his abuser.

The actor and writer has risen to prominence with a Netflix series based on his alleged experiences of being stalked, and of being sexually abused at the hands of an unknown figure in the world of comedy.

Speculation has spread on social media platforms, where viewers have been sharing theories on who might be the real-life basis for the show’s characters.

Gadd has warned that online investigators attempting to unearth the true identity of his abuser are falsely accusing his friends.

The star, 34, said that “people I love, have worked with, and admire” were being targeted unfairly.

He added: “Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of the show.”

Richard Gadd
Richard Gadd as Donny in Baby Reindeer - Ruba/Backgrid
Jessica Gunning
Jessica Gunning as Martha, who plays Donny's stalker - Ruba/Backgrid

Gadd’s Netflix hit follows his fictionalised experiences as a struggling comedian who becomes the obsession of a stalker named Martha, who pursues him relentlessly.

In a series of flashbacks, Gadd’s character Donny Dunn is revealed to have bumped into an influential comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

This male character, Darrien O’Connor in the show, is shown repeatedly getting Gadd’s character high on drugs and sexually abusing him on several occasions.

Gadd has claimed that Baby Reindeer is based on his 2019 Edinburgh Festival one-man show, a debut play which referenced his personal ordeals.

The basis for both the character of the stalker and the abuser are not known, and Gadd has not named anyone in relation to his alleged abuse.

The fictionalised account of abuse was well-received on stage in Edinburgh, and has become one of Netflix’s most discussed series of 2024.