'That Was a Little Bit Martha of Me': Baby Reindeer's Jessica Gunning Recalls Buying the Baby Reindeer Stage Play

Baby Reindeer’s creation backstory continues to unfold — and Jessica Gunning is revealing the ways she channeled her inner Martha in preparation

Published Time: 07.06.2024 - 06:31:09 Modified Time: 07.06.2024 - 06:31:09

Baby Reindeer’s creation backstory continues to unfold — and Jessica Gunning is revealing the ways she channeled her inner Martha in preparation.

After a screening of the show’s first two episodes at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on Wednesday, June 5, the creator of the Netflix hit mini-series, Richard Gadd, joined cast members Jessica Gunning and Nava Mau onstage for a conversation about the show’s inception, development and creation.

Baby Reindeer follows Donny Dunn, played by Gadd, 35, and his relationship with Martha (Jessica Gunning) — a friend who finds him during a low point in his life — eventually becoming more stalker than companion.

During the Q&A, Gunning, 38, recalled moments from her initial involvement with the show, revealing that she had been a lover of Gadd's comedy before taking on Baby Reindeer as a project.

"I'd seen Richard's show Monkey See, Monkey Do, which is loosely what episode four was based on, so I already knew his writing, and I thought he was "brill," Gunning said of Gadd's writing. "I actually tried to get tickets to see the stage show of Baby Reindeer but it was sold out, so I bought the stage play - which is a little bit Martha of me."

Continuing on in a faux-stalker voice, Gunning added, "And I read it every day," drawing laughs from the audience.

Gunning went on to express her admiration for Gadd's writing, citing a moment from the script that she practiced with a friend during her audition process.

"The scene where she talks about wanting to zip him open and snuggle away inside him — actually, I practiced that with a friend of mine for the audition and I said, 'Oh my god this is my favorite scene, it's the most romantic scene in the show.'

However, Gunning's friend was less inclined to agree. "At the end, my friend was like 'Ewww.' I really was shocked because I was like 'How else could you read this?' A -

nd then I was like, 'Oh yeah... okay. I think it's sweet.'"

The story behind Baby Reindeer is said to be based on true events, and Gadd plays a cobbled-together version of himself throughout the series. In April 2024, he told The Guardian that while some of the events in the show have been slightly tweaked to “create dramatic climaxes,” the story overall rings true.

“It’s very emotionally true, obviously: I was severely stalked and severely abused,” he told the outlet. “But we wanted it to exist in the sphere of art, as well as protect the people it’s based on.”

Despite Gadd’s desire to protect his stalker by changing certain aspects of her character, the show has notably sparked headlines in recent months after a woman claiming to be the real-life Martha came forward for an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan.

Fiona Harvey, a Scottish lawyer, appeared on Piers Morgan Uncensored on May 9, refuting the show’s claims wholeheartedly.

"This is just complete nonsense," she told Morgan, 59, during the nearly hour-long interview. Later on in the interview, Harvey, 58, doubled down, calling Gadd “psychotic.” Harvey even went on to describe the "abuse" she had endured at the hands of newspapers and social media as a result of the show.

Gadd, for his part, had previously asked fans to stop trying to identify the real-life people behind the show before Harvey's appearance on Morgan's show.

In an Instagram Stories post from Monday, April 22, Gadd reached out to fans, asking them not to "speculate" about who his past abusers were.

"Hi Everyone, People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly getting caught up in speculation," he wrote, according to TODAY.com. "Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of our show.”

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