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Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning talks real-life Martha amid £132 million lawsuit

Fiona Harvey is suing Netflix for over £100 million

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
June 7, 2024
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Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning has spoken about the character Martha, whose real-life counterpart Fiona Harvey is currently suing Netflix for £132million, claiming that her false depiction of the show has ruined her life. 

Speaking about Variety’s Making a Scene, Jessica opened up about playing the role, and her thoughts on ‘Martha’. She said: “I really fought for it because I just saw her so clearly and I just kept thinking, ‘Oh, man. If somebody were to do this and play her as a villain or play her as crazy, you’d miss the point a bit.’”

WATCH: How Baby Reindeer became an overnight phenomenon

She continued: “They wigged me up and aged me up and I went and put myself on tape and sent it over to be like, ‘Look, see? Please.’ Luckily it worked, they were probably like ‘Who is this woman? Back off.’” She added that she didn’t want the character to be viewed as “crazy”, and instead to give her more complexity. 

She added to the BBC: “I really cared about Martha, you know. As soon as I read episode one I was drawn in by her. 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.”

Fiona Harvey appeared on Piers Morgan's Youtube show
Fiona Harvey appeared on Piers Morgan's Youtube show

Baby Reindeer's lawsuit

Fiona, who appeared in an interview with Piers Morgan to share her views on the show, is now suing Netflix for £132m, with the official court documents reading: “The lies that Defendants told about Harvey to over 50 million people worldwide including that Harvey is a twice-convicted stalker who was sentenced to five years in prison, and that Harvey sexually assaulted Gadd. Defendants told these lies and never stopped, because it was a better story than the truth, and better stories made money.

“As a result of the Defendants’ lies, malfeasance and utterly reckless misconduct, Harvey’s life had been ruined. Simply, Netflix and Gadd destroyed her reputation, her character and her life.”

Jessica Gunning © Dave Benett
Jessica Gunning doesn't have social media and is incredibly private

Netflix's response to lawsuit

A Netflix spokesperson responded to the lawsuit: “We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd's right to tell his story.” 

Baby Reindeer became a smash hit success, reaching number one in 70 countries on the streaming platform. Richard Gadd, the show’s creator, and Jessica appeared on the Late Show with Jimmy Fallon to discuss it, where Jessica revealed that a woman “screamed” after spotting her in the street. 

Speaking about being shot to international fame, she said: "It’s funny because I feel exactly the same and then occasionally - the other week I got out of my car and walked around and this lady screamed in my face. But in her defence, she’d just finished episode seven, turned off her TV and I was there!” 

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 also opened up about his surprise at the show’s success, adding: “It went out on 8 am UK on 11 April and I remember thinking, ‘Maybe my mum and dad will watch it this weekend,’ and then it just went off… It’s almost had this cross-cultural success… it’s very London and it’s such an odd story and a weird, traumatic story but I guess a lot of people are suffering right now!”

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