Baby Reindeer’s Jessica Gunning Speaks Out On ‘Inevitable’ Intrigue Around Real-Life Identity Of Show’s Characters

<span class="copyright">Netflix</span>

Baby Reindeer quickly became a TV hit upon its release last month, but its success hasn’t been without some controversy.

The Netflix drama is based on creator and star Richard Gadd’s real-life experiences as a struggling comedian whose life is turned upside down when he gets stalked by a woman called Martha (played by Jessica Gunning).

The show became a word-of-mouth hit and spent nearly a month at the top of Netflix UK’s most-watched rankings before being toppled by a new documentary last week.

Despite the runaway success of the show, questions have been raised in recent weeks about whether enough was done to protect the real identities of people portrayed in the show.

Richard has since spoken out against internet “sleuths” attempting to identify the real people behind the show, while Jessica described such behaviour as “a real, real shame”.

In a new interview with the Radio Times, Jessica opened up about whether she felt there was anything “problematic” about Richard basing the show on a real person.

“I wouldn’t use the word problematic, I would say, maybe, sensitive,” she explained.

The Outlaws actor added that, because the show is based on Richard’s real-life experiences with stalking and sexual assault, “any search for real people almost undermines that slightly”.

She continued that she “absolutely saw Martha as a character”, and wasn’t doing “an impersonation” of a real person, adding that she “genuinely didn’t know anything about the real person”.

Her comments also echoed a similar sentiment recently shared by Richard, saying that it “didn’t feel like we were re-enacting scenes for some documentary”, and were instead interpreting characters “in this emotionally true world”.

Jessica defended her co-star by reaffirming his past comments that he didn’t want internet sleuths to “go out and try and find the identities of these real people”.

She added: “He deliberately changed identities for a reason. But of course, in this day and age, it’s inevitable, especially with a show this big, that people are intrigued by who the real people are.”

Richard recently opened up about the “chaos” of his new-found fame since his show became a huge hit. Meanwhile, a leading stalking charity recently revealed the real impact the show has had, reporting a 26% increase in calls to the National Stalking Helpline between March and April.