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Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer© Ed Miller/Netflix

Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning's next role revealed - and it's so different to stalker Martha

Jessica has been widely praised for her role in Richard Gadd's Netflix series

Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
May 3, 2024
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Jessica Gunning has wowed Netflix viewers across the world with her performance in the hit drama series, Baby Reindeer. The West Yorkshire actress plays a middle-aged woman named Martha, who becomes obsessed with struggling comedian Donny Dunn after he offers her a free cup of tea during his pub shift. 

Jessica will soon be back on our screens in her latest role in the BBC's hit comedy The Outlaws – and her character couldn't be more different to Martha!

WATCH: How Baby Reindeer became an overnight phenomenon

The comedy show, which returns with its third season on Thursday 30 May, follows a group of lawbreakers from different walks of life who are thrown together to complete a community payback sentence in Bristol. 

In series three, we find The Outlaws happily moving on with their lives, with crime boss The Dean behind bars awaiting trial. But when one of the pack returns with a deadly secret, they're hurled back into mortal danger.

Jessica Gunning in The Outlaws© BBC
Jessica Gunning plays Community Payback Officer Diane in The Outlaws

The synopsis continues: "As a murder manhunt closes in on the gang, can they prove their innocence before The Dean's case collapses, and he comes looking for revenge?"

Jessica plays Community Payback Officer Diane, a by-the-book supervisor of The Outlaws, who is now a fully qualified PCSO and training up eager proteìgeì, Stan (Harry Trevaldwyn).

Jessica Gunning in The Outlaws© BBC
Jessica co-wrote an episode in the new series

Speaking about her character, Jessica told the BBC: "Diane is persistent, she's ruthless, no-nonsense, she never misses a trick - or so she thinks! In a dream world she would become a police officer. She's Cagney & Lacey's number one fan."

Jessica stars alongside Stephen Merchant (The Office), who plays sad divorcee lawyer Greg and also writes and directs the series. Meanwhile, Rhianne Barreto (No Escape, Hanna) plays Rani, alongside Gamba Cole (Soon Gone: A Windrush Chronicle, Hanna) as Ben, Darren Boyd (Killing Eve, Trying) as John, Clare Perkins (Silo, The Wheel of Time) as Myrna, and Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, One Day) as Lady Gabby. 

Rhianne Barreto a Rani in The Outlaws© Big Talk/Alistair Heap/BBC
Rhianne Barreto plays Rani

Rounding out the main cast are Charles Babalola (Black Mirror, Shaka: King of the Zulu Nation) as Malaki, Tom Hanson (Brassic) as Spencer and Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Dune: Part Two) as Frank.

Jessica co-wrote an episode for the upcoming series. On returning to the role, she said: "It's been lovely all being back together, and I felt very lucky that I was in the writers' room this time as I co-wrote an episode with Stephen, episode five.

Christopher Walken in The Outlaws© BBC
Christopher Walken also stars in The Outlaws

"It's been really exciting to be a part of helping draft the storyline for series three and get to know the characters more than I did before."

Baby Reindeer: Martha's obsession in numbers

Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer© Ed Miller/Netflix
Richard Gadd as Donny Dunn and Jessica Gunning as Martha in Baby Reindeer

Richard Gadd has been vocal about his stalker, named 'Martha' in the show, and just how many messages, voicemails,  tweets and emails he received from her before contact was cut off. It included: 

  • 41,000 emails 
  • 744 tweets
  • 100 pages of letters
  • 350 hours of voicemails 

The Outlaws returns to BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Thursday 30 May.

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