Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning urges fans not to look for ‘real’ Martha

Some curious viewers of the hit Netflix miniseries have tried to track down its real-life figures

Nicole Vassell
Thursday 25 April 2024 13:35 BST
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Baby Reindeer actor Jessica Gunning has echoed creator Richard Gadd’s request for viewers to stop their investigations into the real people that inspired the characters.

In Netflix’s latest hit series, Scottish comedian Gadd plays a fictionalised version of himself who gets stalked by a lonely, mentally ill woman named Martha (Gunning), whom he meets while pulling pints at a pub.

Several characters in the seven-part drama were inspired by Gadd’s real experiences with stalking and abuse, and some curious fans have tried to discover the inspirations behind the show.

In a new interview with Glamour, Gunning responded to viewers searching for information on who the “real” Martha is.

“I didn’t know that was happening,” she began. “I would urge people not to be doing that. I think if that is happening, I think it’s a real, real shame, because it shows that they haven’t watched the show properly.

“That’s not the point of it in any way. Netflix and Richard [Gadd] went to extreme lengths to try and make sure that the identities were kept private for a reason.”

Gunning, who has also starred in sitcoms Back and The Outlaws, then suggested that viewers may want to take another look at the series to engage with its message more fully.

Jessica Gunning plays Martha in ‘Baby Reindeer’
Jessica Gunning plays Martha in ‘Baby Reindeer’ (Getty / Netflix)

“I think they should try and watch the show again, and really see what the point of it was – it definitely wasn’t that. I deliberately didn’t want to do an impersonation of somebody; I wanted to do an interpretation of this character.”

Earlier this week, Gadd shut down speculation about the real-life figures behind the show’s characters.

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Episode four features Donny, Gadd’s character, being groomed and sexually assaulted by a TV showrunner named Darrien (played by Tom Goodman-Hill).

In a message posted on Instagram, Gadd named director and writer Sean Foley as someone “unfairly caught up in speculation” following the show’s release.

“People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly caught up in speculation,” he wrote in a Story on Monday (22 April).

“Please don’t speculate on who any of the real-life people could be. That’s not the point of our show. Lots of love, Richard x X.”

Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning in ‘Baby Reindeer’
Richard Gadd and Jessica Gunning in ‘Baby Reindeer’ (Netflix)

With the programme dealing with such sensitive subject matter, Gunning also told Glamour about how she was conscious of ensuring her co-star was coping on set.

“As an actor working with him, I felt a huge sense of responsibility to do the story justice, but also to make sure that he was OK,” she said.

“I think he’s worked on himself so much. he’s already worked through a lot of stuff in his life and through his art, he’s hopefully found some sort of catharsis through it.”

Baby Reindeer is streaming now on Netflix.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at www.rapecrisis.org.uk. If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)

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