Baby Reindeer fact fiction

What disturbing plot points are fact and fiction in Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer series?

Let’s get to the truth


It’s safe to say everyone is absolutely hooked on Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer series, but what exactly is fact and fiction in the disturbing Netflix series? From how he and his stalker Martha actually met to whether or not she was arrested, let’s find out what plot points are fact and fiction in Baby Reindeer.

First, let’s cover which details in the series are facts and actually happened in real life.

How Donny and Martha first met 

In the series Donny and Martha meet for the first time after she enters his pub crying and he offers her a cup of tea. After she tearfully explains she can’t afford the drink he offers it to her on the house. Richard Gadd told The Times: “At first everyone at the pub thought it was funny that I had an admirer Then she started to invade my life, following me, turning up at my gigs, waiting outside my house, sending thousands of voicemails and emails.”

The volume of emails

During the show we see Martha sent Donny thousands of emails, and in real life, she sent him 41,071 emails, 350 hours of voicemail, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages and 106 pages of letters over four and a half years.

The police not taking Donny seriously at first

Via Netflix

In Baby Reindeer, we see that Donny isn’t taken seriously at first when he reports Martha for stalking him. And Richard Gadd has since revealed that in real life it took six years before the police decided to intervene. He told The Guardian: “I’ve been through two police investigations in my life and they’ve both been hilarious, fly-on-the-wall terrible. Honestly, my advice to someone who ever thought of pressing charges would be: it’s a f**king nightmare process, and it takes years.”

Alongside the plot points that are fact, some are fiction and have been changed for Baby Reindeer compared to what actually happened in real life, here’s what they are.

Identities and details have been changed to protect identities 

Via Netflix

Richard Gadd has repeatedly spoken about deliberately changing the identities and appearances of the actors playing the characters so they’re not recognisable. He told GQ: “We’ve gone to such great lengths to disguise her to the point that I don’t think she would recognise herself. What’s been borrowed is an emotional truth, not a fact-by-fact profile of someone.”

Whether Martha actually went to prison

Via Netflix

In Baby Reindeer, Martha is arrested and put in prison after she leaves a disturbing voicemail threatening to stab someone. However, in real life, Richard Gadd told The Independent: “Stalking and harassment is a form of mental illness. It would have been wrong to paint her as a monster, because she’s unwell, and the system’s failed her.”