Baby Reindeer star Richard Gadd responds to speculation over show’s real-life characters

The star and creator of Baby Reindeer has urged would-be internet sleuths to stop trying to uncover the identities of the real people who inspired the story.

Since its launch on Netflix earlier this month, Richard Gadd’s seven-part series based on his true experience of being stalked has become one of the most-discussed TV projects of the year, with fans marvelling at a particular hidden reference used throughout the show.

Starring Gadd as a fictionalised version of himself, a bartender and fledgling comedian named Donny, and Jessica Gunning as Martha, a lonely woman who begins to invade all areas of his life, Baby Reindeer shows how their relationship quickly became problematic and abusive.

Although the story is rooted in real events, Gadd changed names and specific details of the story to protect the identities of the people involved.

Social media detectives, however, have made efforts to uncover the people who inspired the tale, claiming to have discovered not only “Martha”, but the person behind the TV executive who groomed and sexually assaulted Donny in the show.

On Monday evening (22 April), Gadd addressed some viewers’ intrigue about the real-life figures, and named director and writer Sean Foley as someone “unfairly caught up in speculation”.

“Hi everyone,” Gadd began his post on Instagram Stories.

“People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are 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 x X.”

Donny (Richard Gadd), Martha (Jessica Gunning) and Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill) in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)
Donny (Richard Gadd), Martha (Jessica Gunning) and Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill) in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)

Foley, who wrote and directed Spitting Image: The Musical, reposted Gadd’s message on X/Twitter, and added: “Police have been informed and are investigating all defamatory abusive and threatening posts against me.”

The Independent has reached out to a representative of Foley for comment. When contacted, Netflix declined to comment.

Baby Reindeer is currently at the top of the UK Netflix chart and has racked up 2.6 million views this week.

Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)
Richard Gadd in Baby Reindeer (Netflix)

In an interview with The Independent ahead of the show’s release, Gadd noted his belief that a decline in public services impacted the way his stalking case was handled by authorities.

“I don’t like to make these interviews too political, but it does feel like we’re at a crisis point with our public services right now,” Gadd said.

“Going through the police process on [the stalking case], I really did feel quite confronted with just how kind of how much lack of resources there seemed to be – how the police have been gutted.”

He also noted that he’d occasionally questioned the lack of help afforded to his stalker. “Like, why wasn’t she being helped in some way? I left with more questions than answers,” he said.

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 If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)