Chilling true story behind Netflix's hit stalker drama Baby Reindeer (2024)

Netflix's new drama Baby Reindeer is a chilling true story about a man who was stalked by a woman after he gave her a free cup of tea - and it's now been turned into a mini series

Chilling true story behind Netflix's hit stalker drama Baby Reindeer (1)

Netflix 's chilling new drama, Baby Reindeer, narrates a nightmarish tale, about how an act of kindness morphs into a dangerous obsession. Audiences from around the nation will get to experience this gripping true story.

It has been created and acted by Richard Gadd, who portrays Donny a character based on his personal, difficult experiences of being relentlessly pursued by a woman named Martha (played by Jessica Gunning ). What started as an innocent gesture of offering a free cup of tea to a woman at his workplace pub, rapidly transformed into an unprecedented invasion of privacy with over 40,000 emails, 740 tweets, 350 hours of voicemail, 100 pages of letters, and 45 Facebook messages during the course of five years.

However, as no overt threats or violence were posed by the woman, sadly the authorities couldn't do much to shield Richard from her intrusive behaviours. Reflecting on maintaining safety under these circ*mstances, Richard once said: "The laws surrounding harassment and abuse are so stupid because they look for black and white, good and evil, and that's not how it works."

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Refusing to be a victim, Richard chose to tackle his experience head-on by writing a new play that included intimate details from his ordeal, such as the moniker his stalker gave him - Baby Reindeer.

The play first debuted at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it received rave reviews and was even described as "haunting" by some critics. It then had a successful stint at London's Bush theatre before being transformed into a brand new mini-series for streaming giant Netflix five years later, acccording to OK!.

The mini-series contains seven episodes, varying from 27 to 45 minutes each, and strives to depict the "human quality" behind stalking, offering a more realistic portrayal than the standard overly sexualised depictions seen on television.

Speaking to Netflix, series writer Richard Gadd said: "Stalking on television tends to be very sexed-up," and "It has a mystique. It's somebody in a dark alley way. It's somebody who's really sexy, who's very normal, but then they go strange bit by bit. 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."

So what exactly is the spine-chilling true story behind Baby Reindeer?

The true tale behind Baby Reindeer began about a decade ago, when Richard was actively involved in the UK comedy scene and producing several successful shows including Breaking Gadd, Waiting for Gaddot and Monkey See Monkey Do.

However, amidst his thriving stage career, Richard was privately dealing with an obsessive stalker who became unhealthily fixated on him after he offered her a free cup of tea at his workplace. This seemingly innocent act triggered a relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation from the unnamed woman, turning his life into chaos.

"At its height, it was almost unbearable," the comedian revealed to Channel 4. He detailed how she would frequently show up at his performances, arrive uninvited at his home, and shower him with gifts like hats and boxer shorts, all while incessantly messaging him day and night.

"There's an issue of co-dependency, of attachment, where this person genuinely believes that the other person is an answer to all of their problems," he shared with the broadcaster. "I believe that the person who stalked me was a very vulnerable character. I believe she was someone to be sympathised with."

Richard, unable to convince the woman to cease her actions, later sought police assistance for legal recourse. The messages, though not threatening, were so persistent they made his life feel "suffocating".

Unfortunately, the police could offer little help, as the crime wasn't deemed a high priority.

This lack of support was one of the reasons Richard was inspired to write 'Baby Reindeer'. Writing the play and later the series became a form of therapy for him, while also highlighting the harsh realities faced by stalking victims.

A decade after the harrowing events, Richard's stalker is now legally barred from approaching him or anyone he knows. Yet, the impact of the stalking lingers.

In a 2019 Telegraph interview, he reflected: "I think about that rule that you need four things in your life to be happy. Family, love, health, career. She managed to drive a freight train through every single one of those in quite an unbelievable way."

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Chilling true story behind Netflix's hit stalker drama Baby Reindeer (2024)
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