Chilling True Story Behind Dark New Netflix Series That Has A Perfect Rotten Tomatoes Score

Netflix's new series Baby Reindeer, which has a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, is inspired by a dark true story.
Credit: Netflix

A new series has dropped on Netflix and it’s managed to get a perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The latest miniseries to hit the platform has received an incredible reception, with fans and critics both agreeing it’s a riveting watch.

But what makes this drama-thriller so particularly engrossing is the fact it’s all based on a true story…

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The show was created by Richard Gadd and is based on his one-man play of the same name.

It stars Gadd as Donny Dunn (a fictionalised version of himself), The Outlaws‘ Jessica Gunning as Martha, Waking Hour‘s Nava Mau plays American therapist Teri and Humans‘ Tom Goodman-Hill plays TV writer Darrien.

The miniseries details the shocking events which unfold after comedian Donny shows an act of generosity to a woman named Martha.

He offers her a cup of tea when she can’t afford a drink. However, this act of kindness quickly backfires after Martha begins stalking him.

Baby Reindeer (2024).
The miniseries has been described as a ‘must-watch’ and a ‘masterpiece’ by viewers. Credit: Netflix

People have been loving the tense and gripping thriller, which began streaming on April 11.

One fan writes on X, formerly known as Twitter: “From the minute it starts to the very end I was truly captivated. It was triggering, uncomfortable, awkward and hilarious at times. A masterpiece.”

“On episode six and there’s zero chance that I don’t end this night ugly crying. Jeezus this is raw. I just want to know he’s OK. I need him to be OK,” another adds.

While a third pens: “The way it tackles the s**ual harassment and abuse faced by men is riveting, and that ending? OMG, I’ll need some time to process this.”

“I can’t believe he wrote a story based on his own harrowing experiences and then starred in it as well,” comments a fourth.

Baby Reindeer (2024).
The thriller-drama has managed a perfect Rotten Tomatoes score. Credit: Netflix

Critics have also been quick to offer their rave reviews for the show.

David Opie for Digital Spy writes: “Because no, this isn’t an easy show to watch, but the truth behind it is an important one that will mean a lot to the people who need it most.”

Rebecca Nicholson for The Guardian agrees: “Gadd has not flattened out the moral complexity of the play for television. If anything, he has gone deeper into the grey areas.

“Of its many challenging themes, it deals with shame, cruelty, self-loathing, banter, ego, pity, mental illness, culpability, loneliness, the policing of stalking, desire, hard drugs, hope and despair.”

In an interview with Netflix’s Tudum, Gadd explains why he decided to turn the true story into a drama.

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He says he originally began writing his play as a way of dealing with the difficult time.

Gadd said: “In a weird way, I first started feeling like this could be a good story during the whole ordeal itself. It was one of the most intense periods when I was listening to these voicemails.

“I’d go to sleep at night and these voicemails – her words would bounce around my eyelids. I remember thinking, ‘God, if I was ever to speak about this onstage, I’d fire the words around. Put the voicemails in a big cacophony and fire it’. That’s how the play was born.”

He also 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.”

He added: “There’s something slightly crazy about it, the whole thing, doing it – the layers upon layers.

“It is a heavy brew and it’s all very challenging for sure.”

Baby Reindeer (2024).
Richard Gadd began writing the series as a way of dealing with the difficult time. Credit: Netflix

The woman, who is named Martha in Baby Reindeer, is believed to have sent Gadd 41,071 emails, 744 tweets, 106 pages of letters and 350 hours of voicemail.

In an interview with The Telegraph back in 2019, Gadd shared: “It was debilitating beyond belief. I’d listen to her voicemails and just feel my eyes welling up. They were tears of frustration. Proper brain-heavy stress.”

“I can’t emphasise enough how much of a victim she is in all this,” the actor said when chatting to The Independent.

“When we think of stalkers, we always think of films like Misery and Fatal Attraction, where the stalker is a monstrous figure in the night down an alleyway.

“But usually, it’s a prior relationship or someone you know or a work colleague. 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.”

He added that laws around harassment and abuse need to be improved, as at the moment, they ‘look for black and white, good and evil, and that’s not how it works’.

Stalking is a worryingly common phenomenon and is now on the rise.

ONS statistics estimate that 2.5 million people experience stalking in England and Wales every year.

Watch the trailer for Baby Reindeer here…


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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.