Millions of people are now stalking Baby Reindeer's Martha. She's not the one we should focus on.

Warning: This article contains spoilers, and mentions of stalking and sexual abuse.

It's human nature to want to know the real story after watching a fictionalised one play out on screen. 

Right now the world is bingeing Netflix's new series Baby Reindeer about a comedian/barmen named Donny who finds himself with a stalker called Martha, after he offers her a free cup of tea. 

It's brilliant television. Captivating, unsettling and with an incredible cast of characters. It also happens to be based on the true story of actor Richard Gadd, who plays himself as the main character. 

Watch the trailer below. Post continues after video. 

Video via Netflix

It's only natural to want to pull up Google and start comparing notes (I did too). But the internet is obsessed with one particular task — finding the real Martha. 

Gadd has shared that everything that happened in the show actually happened him. Even the emails used are word-for-word what he received (and he received 41,071 of them). But as 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". 


He adds, "What’s been borrowed is an emotional truth, not a fact-by-fact profile of someone".

In the interest of abiding by Gadd's wishes, we're not going to type out the real Martha's name in this article. However, millions of sleuths do believe they've found her. They've found numerous tweets directed at Gadd with phrases that are familiar from the show itself. 

Like this: 

Image: X.


And this:

Image: X.

The supposed 'real' Martha's name is trending, and it appears to be the most searched term next to those related to the show. 

Again, I understand. It's only human nature to want to find the real person. But there are a few problems here. 


Firstly, is the 'real Martha' owed her privacy? It's a complex moral question — one I don't feel like I have the answer to. But something about stalking the stalker feels icky to me. If the series end is true, Martha is also a victim in this story. 

It is explained in the final episode that she grew up in an abusive home. In the show, Martha goes to prison for her crimes, but while Gadd describes the situation as being "resolved," his interview with The Times suggests she didn't do time in real life because "he didn't want to throw someone who was that level of mentally unwell in prison". 

But the bigger more glaring problem with this sole obsession of finding Martha is the failure for there to be the same urgency to track down Darrien O'Connor — the powerful TV writer who sexually abuses Donny.

Because that too, is based on a true story. 

In the series, Donny meets the older TV writer at a mixer, and Darrien offers to help him with his career. Thrilled, Donny works hard to impress his new mentor and starts spending time at his flat. 

They start doing drugs together, but Donny is given doses by Darrien that leave him unconscious and incapacitated and it's then that Darrien starts to routinely sexually abuse him. 

The storyline involving Darrien O'Connor is also based on real events. Image: Netflix.


"There’s a flashback episode where we actually go back in time to Donny going to the Edinburgh Fringe and meeting someone in the industry who helps them in their career but goes on to abuse Donny and that’s obviously taken from my real-life experiences," Gadd told GQ of that storyline.

If the show is to be believed, Gadd never pressed charges. So is that man still working? Is he doing that to other men or women?


It has to be asked, why are we so obsessed with finding a stalker who has been reprimanded for their crimes when there is a sexual abuser still at large? 

Is it because a male sexual abuser is so common, so familiar a 'character' that the internet sleuths are simply blinded by the complex life and crimes of the female perpetrator, Martha? 

Gadd himself (as Donny), says during the show: "When it came to the point of going to the police, I just couldn’t stand the irony of reporting her but not him. There was always a sense that she was ill, that she couldn’t help it, whereas he was a pernicious, manipulative groomer. To admit to her was to admit to him, and I hadn’t admitted him to anyone yet".

While the internet believes they have found Martha, Darrien remains a mystery. Reddit threads on the show have come up empty on his real identity. 

Hopefully, if there are any other victims of the 'real Darrien' out there they can feel empowered by Gadd's disclosure to come forward about their own experiences. 

Abusers thrive in the darkness. In their victim's silence. Let's hope Baby Reindeer shines the light on the real-life Darrien, in the eyes of the law at least.  

Feature image: Netflix.  

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