Richard Gadd’s Baby Reindeer co-star ‘checked in’ on him during difficult scenes

Jessica Gunning, who stars in Netflix's hit stalker series Baby Reindeer, has revealed that she checked in on the show's creator and lead actor Richard Gadd during "tough" scenes.

The 38-year-old plays stalker Martha Scott, who relentlessly harasses struggling comic Donny Dunn (Gadd) for four and a half years. It is a fictionalised version of Gadd’s own experiences with a stalker.

*Spoilers ahead*

The seven-part series features a number of distressing scenes depicting sexual violence, rape, and abuse.

With the content so close to home for Gadd, who essentially reenacts a number of his most traumatic experiences, Gunning told the BBC that she felt compelled “to make sure he was doing OK, especially during the filming of episode four - that was a really tough time”.

The White Heat star added: “Richard was so amazingly brave and vulnerable and open to reliving all of that. I was so impressed with him.”

Richard Gadd in ‘Baby Reindeer’ (©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Richard Gadd in ‘Baby Reindeer’ (©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Episode four features the most graphic portrayals of sexual violence as Donny is groomed and then abused by an older, successful TV writer he meets at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

However, the show has been released to critical acclaim with a rare 100 per cent approval rating on ratings website Rotten Tomatoes. It has also topped Netflix’s charts in both the US and UK.

Gunning’s portrayal of Scott has widely praised by many, The Independent’s chief TV critic Nick Hilton, who said in his four-star review of the show: “Gunning’s performance as Martha adds another layer of ambiguity: at times she is vicious, at times she is vulnerable, but she’s always a compelling presence in his life and on screen.”

Jessica Gunning as stalker Martha in ‘Baby Reindeer' (Netflix)
Jessica Gunning as stalker Martha in ‘Baby Reindeer' (Netflix)

The effect appears to be intentional as the actor said she was careful to ensure she played the role with complexity and nuance, to avoid reducing Scott to a woman who is “mad” or “crazy”.

“I really cared about Martha, you know. As soon as I read episode one I was drawn in by her,” she said.

“I never saw her as a villain. I don’t think you can do if you’re playing that kind of part. I always saw her as multifaceted and complicated.”

Baby Reindeer is now streaming on Netflix.

Rape Crisis offers support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. You can call them on 0808 802 9999 in England and Wales, 0808 801 0302 in Scotland, and 0800 0246 991 in Northern Ireland, or visit their website at If you are in the US, you can call Rainn on 800-656-HOPE (4673)