Baby Reindeer’s Richard Gadd explains why he will ‘never comment again’ on real people who inspired show

Baby Reindeer creator Richard Gadd has reiterated his plea for internet sleuths to stop trying to uncover the identities of the real people who inspired his hit Netflix show.

The seven-part series follows struggling comic Donny Dunn, played by Gadd, as he is relentlessly harassed and stalked by Martha Scott, played by Jessica Gunning, for four and a half years.

“I’ve put out a statement publicly saying I want the show to be received as a piece of art and I want people to enjoy the show as a piece of art. I’m called Donny Dunn. It exists in a sort of fictional realm, even though it is based on truth it exists in a fictional realm,” he told The Hollywood Reporter on the flurry of speculation about who the real-life counterparts of the show’s characters are.

“If I wanted the real life people to be found, I would’ve made it a documentary,” the actor added.

“I’ve spoken publicly about how I don’t want people to do it and if I start playing a game of whack-a-mole, then I’m almost adding to it. I don’t think I’ll ever comment on it ever again.”

Since the show released in April with the words “This is a true story”, social media detectives have been trying to track down the real Martha and Darrien, an older and more successful TV writer who grooms and abuses Gadd’s character Donny.

Richard Gadd as Donny and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)
Richard Gadd as Donny and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)

Gadd gave his interview to The Hollywood Reporter before Piers Morgan sat down with Scottish lawyer Fiona Harvey, 58, who internet sleuths had claimed to be the inspiration behind Martha, but it was not published until 13 May.

In her interview with Morgan that was released on 10 May and immediately criticised as “unethical”, Harvey denied stalking Gadd between 2014 and 2015 and threatened to launch legal action against the actor and Netflix.

Gadd had urged viewers to not get caught up in speculation since that was “not the point of our show”.

He wasn’t going to “confirm or deny anything relating to the real life people who the characters are based on in the show”, he added.

“I know for every single part, there’s been about five or six people who have been sort of named as each part, even all the way down to the pub manager. The internet’s always going to do its thing,” he said.

“There was a video the other day someone had sent me of someone claiming to be Teri,” referring to the character played by Nava Mau.

“I’d never met them before in my life.”

Richard Gadd and Nava Mau in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)
Richard Gadd and Nava Mau in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)

On the show’s runaway success and how he’s dealing with the fame, Gadd said he has noticed the “sudden feeling that there’s more eyes on me all the time”.

“Naturally being a very self-conscious person, it can be quite challenging,” he added.

“I like it when people come up and say nice things. In the weeks after the show came out, I went from 3,000 followers on Instagram to over 400,000 now. It’s surreal. I never expected it to pop like this.”

Adding that people coming up to him to share their experiences of watching the show still felt “surreal”, Gadd said he didn’t think of himself as “famous”.

“I went to see the Pogues the other day and I went into a pub beforehand, naively thinking that I could just go in and sit down with some friends. But it was bedlam, it was chaos.”

“People coming up all the time, all the time, sharing stories and talking about the show and how it affected them. I kind of thought, oh, I can’t really go into pubs anymore and expect to sit there quietly in a corner and have some food.”

Baby Reindeer is streaming on Netflix.