Is Martha Scott Based on Richard Gadd’s Real Stalker?


In Netflix’s ‘Baby Reindeer,’ a man becomes entangled in a strange turn of events when he finds himself being stalked by a woman who is not ready to go away under any circumstances. It is weird but also something that the protagonist, Donny Dunn, feels like he attracted by foolishly indulging the woman named Martha Scott. After having seen all kinds of stalker shows, one would expect to know how things are going to turn out for Donny, but this story is unlike anything you might have ever seen before. What makes it even more bizarre is that it is almost entirely true, which raises a lot of questions about the identity of the real-life stalker. SPOILERS AHEAD

Richard Gadd’s Real Stalker is Still Out and About

Image Credit: Ed Miller/Netflix

In ‘Baby Reindeer,’ Richard Gadd presents the series of events surrounding the stalking that he was subjected to for about three years. Most of the show is pulled directly from real life, including the character of Martha Scott, who stalks the semi-fictionalized version of Gadd’s protagonist, Donny Dunn. By the end of the show, Martha faces the repercussions of her actions and is sentenced to nine months in prison with a five-year restraining order against Donny. In real life, Richard Gadd found a similar closure to the stalking case.

Due to legal reasons, he has refrained from revealing the real name of the woman who stalked him, but it is confirmed that after skirting around the law for a long time (which kept Gadd and the cops from taking proper legal action against her), Gadd’s stalker eventually met with a similar sentence. A restraining order of an unknown amount of time has been passed, which prevents her from approaching not just Gadd but also his friends and family, and basically, anybody who knows him, including his exes. The actor/comedian revealed that his “dealings with the person who stalked [him] are certainly over,” but that doesn’t say much about the “emotional ramifications” that the ordeal has left behind for him.

The real-life story unfolded almost exactly as presented in the Netflix series. Gadd used to work at a pub in North London when, one day, a woman walked in, whom Gadd presented a cup of coffee because he empathized with her. He confessed that, for his part, he “certainly egged the situation on” and “behaved like a prick at times.” It was just light flirting from his perspective, but it wasn’t until much later that he realized how uninformed his actions had been.

Image Credit: Ed Miller/Netflix

Over the course of the next three years, he was bombarded with texts, emails, voicemails, pings on social media, and weird gifts. Reportedly, the stalker sent him a pair of boxer shorts, a woolly hat, sleeping pills, and a reindeer toy (due to the nickname she had for him), along with 46 messages on Facebook, 106 pages of letters, 350 hours of voicemail, 744 tweets, and 41,071 emails. Just like in the show, she would hound him outside his house and attend his shows, but did all of this “within the realms of legality,” leaving little to no window for Gadd to pursue legal action because there was no concrete evidence against her.

Eventually, the cops were provided with the said evidence that eventually led to legal action against the stalker, but by then, Gadd had already started to try and process his situation by putting it into words and serving it to the world. He first told his story in the form of a one-man show, and it was while writing that he got a clearer perspective of his situation. He found that his stalker was just as much of a victim as him and wasn’t some “monstrous figure in the night down an alleyway” but someone who was “unwell” and failed by the system when she needed help.

While he says that she “managed to drive a freight train through” his life, he can’t help but agree that her own life wouldn’t have been a bed of roses either. He believes if she had received the help she needed, things wouldn’t have become so dire for both of them. He kept this in mind while writing ‘Baby Reindeer’ and instead of demonizing “Martha,” he decided to be honest about the story and present both sides on an equal footing.

Read More: Baby Reindeer: Richard Gadd’s True Story Inspired the Miniseries