Richard Gadd asks viewers to stop Baby Reindeer speculation

Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer

This article includes plot details of the Netflix series Baby Reindeer

Richard Gadd, the writer and creator of Baby Reindeer, has asked fans to stop speculating about the real-life identities of some of its characters.

The Netflix series depicts the true story of a stalker who harassed the Scottish writer and actor over a number of years.

Fans have been speculating about the identity of the stalker, as well as that of a male TV writer who is depicted in the series as raping Gadd's character Donny.

Gadd, who is an ambassador for We Are Survivors, a charity dedicated to helping male survivors of sexual abuse said people close to him were "unfairly getting caught up in speculation".

Some real-life figures have notified police after viewers linked them with certain characters.

Tom Goodman-Hill as Darrien in Baby Reindeer
Tom Goodman-Hill plays Darrien, a TV writer who is seen repeatedly sexually assaulting Gadd's character Donny [Netflix]

In the series, Darrien is seen repeatedly sexually assaulting Gadd and supplying him with drugs.

Darrien is played by actor Tom Goodman-Hill.

On Monday evening, on his Instagram story, Gadd asked fans of the show not to speculate about the true identities of the characters, saying people he loved “have worked with and admire are getting unfairly 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. Lots of love, Richard."

Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer
Jessica Gunning plays Martha, who stalks Donny for six months before he reports her to the police [Netflix]

Meanwhile, viewers have also been speculating on social media about the identity of Martha.

The character is seen in the series stalking Donny over a number of months before he reports her to the police.

The pair first meet when Martha visits a pub Donny is working at in Camden, London, and he takes pity on her not having any money by offering her a free cup of tea.

This leads quickly to Martha becoming obsessed with him, sending him a barrage of emails and turning up at his home.

Martha refers to Donny as "baby reindeer", a nickname which is finally explained in the closing moments of the series.

Donny's relationship with Martha is complicated, as despite her behaviour, he finds himself occasionally taking comfort in her attention.

The events depicted in the show are based on Gadd's own experience of having a stalker in real life nearly a decade ago.

Since the show's release, viewers have been trawling social media looking for clues as to who the real-life Martha could be. Her identity has not been confirmed by anyone involved with the show, including Gadd.

Baby Reindeer started life as a one-man stage show, which Gadd performed at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

It later won an Olivier Award and transferred to London's West End.

Internet sleuthing

The issue of real-life people being caught up in speculation raises the issue of viewer sleuthing in the age where so much data is freely available online.

Gadd had taken steps to prevent identification, including by using pseudonyms for the names of his characters.

But that hasn't stopped several fans trying to piece together Martha's identity using old social media posts and other information depicted in the series.

Many viewers have taken pity on Martha, seeing her as mentally ill and therefore not entirely in control of her own actions.

Darrien, on the other hand, has been a subject of hatred on social media due to the character being depicted as grooming and raping Donny.

The series does not show any kind of comeuppance for Darrien or closure for the storyline.

Some viewers have now taken it upon themselves to identify Darrien and serve their own form of justice - in the shape of social media abuse.