Baby Reindeer on Netflix tells a chilling tale based on actor and comedian Richard Gadd's real-life stalking ordeal.


We follow Donny Dunn (Gadd), an aspiring comedian whose life slowly starts to unravel when he's stalked by a woman called Martha (Jessica Gunning).

"Martha" is a fictionalised version of Gadd's stalker that he first created for his one-man show at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival – and now for the TV series – to keep her identity hidden.

Baby Reindeer has been fictionalised for legal and artistic reasons; the real identity of Gadd's stalker remains unknown.

Gunning previously told about how she made an active decision to not learn too much about the real-life stalker.

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She said: "Obviously, it’s based on a true story, but I decided - on purpose, really - not to know much about the real person, because it’s not really helpful - I’m not doing an impersonation of her.

"All I’m doing is interpreting this character, so I didn’t really do any backstory, aside from what was in the scripts."

Gunning is no stranger to the world of TV and film. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the actress, including where you've seen her before.

Who is Jessica Gunning?

Jessica Gunning smiling and wearing a floral dress.
Jessica Gunning at The Outlaws TV preview photocall at BFI & Radio Times Television Festival. Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Jessica Gunning is an actress who has starred in numerous TV shows over the years, most notably in Stephen Merchant's The Outlaws.

She is also known for her roles in films like 2014's Pride, and is currently starring in Netflix's Baby Reindeer as Martha alongside Richard Gadd.

Gunning was born in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, so the impressive Scottish accent she channels in Baby Reindeer is put on for the character.

How old is Jessica Gunning?

Gunning is 38 years old.

She was born on 1st January 1986.

What has Jessica Gunning previously starred in?

Jessica Gunning in The Outlaws season 2 wearing blue uniform holding a baton
Jessica Gunning in The Outlaws season 2. BBC

Prior to Baby Reindeer, Gunning was best known for her role in BBC's The Outlaws as probation officer Diana, and also in the second season of David Mitchell and Robert Webb's sitcom Back.

Gunning's other TV credits include What Remains, Prime Suspect 1973, Fortitude, Inside No. 9, Law & Order: UK and Back.

In terms of her other work, Gunning is also known for her theatre performances in productions such as Much Ado About Nothing and When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, which she starred in alongside Cate Blanchett at London's National Theatre.

What has Jessica Gunning said about Martha in Baby Reindeer?

Jessica Gunning as Martha smiling and looking at Donny while holding a restaurant menu and sitting down facing each other.
Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer. Netflix

Speaking about why people shouldn't just think of her character Martha as a villain in Baby Reindeer, Gunning exclusively told "They meet each other at a time in each other's lives where they need each other, weirdly."

She explained: "I think as soon as I read it, whoever plays this part of Martha just cannot play her as a scary person or as a villain, you have to treat her with care and you have to really try and see every side to her as much as possible with a story like this.

"I think it would’ve been a shame to play her as a villain, because I don’t think she is that."

Gunning previously spoke about the challenges of playing such a complex character, telling Metro: "I always used to roll my eyes slightly when actors said, 'Oh god, it took me a week to say goodbye,' but because this is obviously based on a true story, and I know Richard now, I wanted to do the part justice so much I think I was constantly with her all the time in my head.

"Even when there were days I wasn’t in, I was thinking of Martha and the story, just wanting to do the best I could do. In that aspect, I didn’t really let go of her until we finished filming. I couldn’t really put her to bed."

Gunning continued: "When you do a job like this as well, it’s long hours, and you’re there, and you’re in it. With this, emotionally, everyone was really invested… it does dominate your life… it took a while to kind of say goodbye, in a way.

"I was really sad when it finished, to say goodbye to her."

Is Jessica Gunning on Instagram?

No. Unfortunately for fans of Gunning's, she's not on Instagram.

Is Jessica Gunning on X (formerly known as Twitter)?

No, Gunning isn't on X either.

Anyone affected by this series can find support by visiting the NHS website or contacting Victim Support.

Baby Reindeer is available to stream now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.


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