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Netflix’s Baby Reindeer leaves out terrifying detail about real-life ‘Martha’s emails

Netflix’s Baby Reindeer’s emails are real – here’s what happened to Richard Gadd in real life.

Are the emails in Baby Reindeer real? The true story behind ‘Martha’s emails is frightening. Here’s the exact number of messages ‘Martha’ sent to Richard Gadd in real life.

‘Baby Reindeer’ has become one of the most talked about TV shows on the streaming platform so far this year, topping the Top 10 chart and sparking a huge conversation surrounding Richard Gadd’s true story.

In ‘Baby Reindeer’, Richard plays a fictionalised version of himself named Donny who is stalked by an older woman named ‘Martha’. It all spirals out of control after Donny offers a free cup of tea at his workplace.

Everything detailed in the show actually happened to Richard in real life, including the emails sent from ‘Martha’ shown on-screen throughout. Netflix have revealed that and were shown as Richard received them in real life, complete with typos.

But what ‘Baby Reindeer’ doesn’t explicitly get across to the audience was the sheer volume of emails, texts, Facebook messages, tweets and voicemails that were sent to Richard in real life by his stalker.

Are the emails in Baby Reindeer real? The true story explained

Are Martha's emails in Baby Reindeer real? Richard Gadd's true story is even more chilling
Are Martha’s emails in Baby Reindeer real? Richard Gadd’s true story is even more chilling.

At one point in the series, Donny says that he was getting around 80 emails per day from Martha, “continuing long into the night”. Towards the end of the show, Donny also acknowledges the amount of voicemails Martha has left him, noting that they played like his own personal podcast.

While the show stays true to what happened in real life, the series doesn’t reveal the total number of messages that the stalker sent to Richard in real life.

Over the course of four years, Richard a staggering 41,071 emails, 744 tweets, 46 Facebook messages, four fake Facebook accounts and 106 pages of letters from his real life stalker. (The tweets and the letters were not included in the show.)

The real life ‘Martha’ also left the real life Richard over 350 hours (!) of voicemail messages after getting his phone number.

As explained in the series, the vast majority of Martha’s messages were not threatening so the police weren’t able to do much about it. “The laws surrounding harassment and abuse are so stupid because they look for black and white, good and evil, and that’s not how it works,” Richard told .


Explaining how he went about fictionalising the situation to make it work for the 7-episode series, Richard told : “For artistic reasons, a lot of stalking is quite boring at times, like it’s a repetitive action and it’s, “Oh god, this person’s messaging again.” And of course, in television, especially a thriller, you need to move certain timelines around, you need to move certain points to the end of episodes to make them pay off a little better.”

Speaking about the real stalker who inspired the character of Martha, Richard also told : “We’ve gone to such great lengths to disguise her to the point that I don’t think she would recognise herself.”

In ‘Baby Reindeer’, Martha is arrested and ends up pleading guilty. She’s sentenced to nine months in prison and Donny gets a five-year restraining order against her.

In real life, Richard’s stalker – whose real identity still remains unknown – is legally banned from approaching him, his family, friends or anyone he knows.