The True Story Behind ‘Baby Reindeer’: Comedian Richard Gadd Escaped His Stalker

Netflix’s “Baby Reindeer” is a new miniseries with a twist.

“Baby Reindeer,” released April 11, is based on Scottish comedian, actor and writer Richard Gadd’s own experience with a stalker and sexual predator in his 20s. Gadd stars as Donny Dunn, who is stalked by a woman named Martha he met in a bar he worked at.

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The official Netflix synopsis reads, “When a struggling comedian shows one act of kindness to a vulnerable woman, it sparks a suffocating obsession which threatens to wreck both their lives.”

Gadd said he was stalked for four years by a woman who called him “Baby Reindeer.” At the beginning, Gadd and his friends didn’t think much of it, until things started to amp up. He was harassed with 41,071 emails, 350 hours of voicemail, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages and 106 pages of letters. She also sent him gifts including a reindeer toy, sleeping pills, a woolly hat and boxer shorts.

“At first everyone at the pub thought it was funny that I had an admirer,” Gadd told the U.K.’s The Times. “Then she started to invade my life, following me, turning up at my gigs, waiting outside my house, sending thousands of voicemails and emails.”

Gadd told The Guardian he did some things wrong and could have handled the situation better.

“I wasn’t a perfect person [back then], so there’s no point saying I was,” Gadd admitted. “And I know as I’m doing those sections that people are thinking I’m not a nice person – which make them difficult to perform.”

Gadd wanted to paint a clear picture of what stalking is with “Baby Reindeer” and not glamorize this behavior.

“Stalking on television tends to be very sexed-up. It has a mystique. It’s somebody in a dark alleyway. It’s somebody who’s really sexy, who’s very normal, but then they go strange bit by bit,” Gadd told Netflix’s Tudum. “But stalking is a mental illness. I really wanted to show the layers of stalking with a human quality I hadn’t seen on television before. It’s a stalker story turned on its head. It takes a trope and turns it on its head.”

“Baby Reindeer” stars Gadd, Nava Mau and Jessica Gunning. The seven-episode miniseries is directed by Weronika Tofilska and produced by Matthew Mulot.

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