Baby Reindeer: Has Richard Gadd’s real abuser been revealed?

Daisy Phillipson
Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill) in Baby Reindeer

As the Baby Reindeer debate continues, you might be wondering: has Richard Gadd’s real abuser been revealed?

Despite Gadd’s pleas for fans to stop speculating about the real identities of characters, Fiona Harvey was outed and accused of being the stalker. 

The case has taken on a life of its own since. We’ve seen Harvey appearing on Piers Morgan’s Uncensored chat show, calls from MPs for Netflix to provide evidence of her conviction, and an alleged lawsuit Harvey claims will be the “highest profile case of the century.”

Attention also shifted to Gadd’s abuser, portrayed in Baby Reindeer as Darrien (Tom Goodman-Hill), but has his identity been revealed? Warning: Some may find this content distressing. 

Has Gadd’s abuser been revealed?

No, Gadd’s abuser hasn’t been revealed. Gadd purposely hid the identities of his Baby Reindeer characters’ real-life counterparts, and fans haven’t uncovered the real suspect. 

When the Netflix series found global success, a number of fans accused British writer and director Sean Foley of being the real Darrien due to their similar appearances and the fact that he’d worked with Gadd in the past. 

However, this is absolutely untrue, as confirmed by the Baby Reindeer creator himself. In an Instagram Story shared in April, he wrote: “People I love, have worked with, and admire (including Sean Foley) are unfairly getting caught up in speculation.”

Instagram Story from Richard Gadd
Gadd asked fans to stop speculating

Gadd went on to ask fans, “Please don’t speculate on who any of the real life people could be. That’s not the point of our show.”

At the same time, Foley took to X/Twitter to say, “Police have been informed and are investigating all defamatory abusive and threatening posts against me.” He’s shared no updates on the case since then. 

What happened to Gadd?

Baby Reindeer dramatizes Gadd’s real experiences, including a sexual assault he endured at the hands of a comedy writing mentor

Episode 4 of the Netflix series depicts the incident with flashbacks to Gadd’s character Donny meeting Darrien at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Darrien helps Donny to fine-tune his stand-up act before seemingly disappearing from his life. 

However, Darrien later calls Donny out of the blue and asks him to come to his London flat for a writing session. Here, Darrien plies him with drugs before sexually assaulting him.

Darrien plies Donny with drugs in Baby Reindeer

Similar incidents occur in the following weeks, with Darrien repeatedly giving Donny false hope that he’s going to make him a comedy star and abusing him when he’s in a drug-induced state.

During one of their sessions, Darrien gives Donny LSD and a strong dose of GHB. When Donny comes to, he’s being raped by Darrien. 

The trauma of these incidents spill over into various aspects of Donny’s life, making him more vulnerable and susceptible to his stalker Martha’s advances. 

What do we know about the abuser?

On the show, we get to know Donny’s abuser, Darrien, including his appearance, his age, and his job, but it’s important to remember these on screen characteristics may not match up to the real abuser. 

In Baby Reindeer, Gadd’s abuser is around the age of 50 with red hair and a beard, and is the head TV writer for the fictional comedy series Cotton Mouth.

But, as said, Gadd purposely obscured the identities of those involved by changing details about the characters. But some people believe they know exactly who the real Darrien is. 

That includes British TV star Richard Osman, who said “everyone” in the industry “knows who he is talking about.”

Osman made the claims on his The Rest Is Entertainment podcast at the start of May. He told co-host Marina Hyde: There’s a very, very serious thing that happens, and Richard Gadd, as you say, did the show in Edinburgh and has been very open to people in the industry about who that person was, so people in the industry know who that person was.”

“That person hasn’t been prosecuted, has never gone to trial, but everyone knows who he is talking about.”

As for Gadd’s take on the matter, shortly before Harvey’s interview with Piers Morgan, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he won’t “ever comment on” again on the identities of his Baby Reindeer characters. 

When asked if he’s followed what Harvey had been saying about him and the show on social media, he replied, “I can’t confirm or deny anything relating to the real life people who the characters are based on in the show.

“I know for every single part, there’s been about five or six people who have been sort of named as each part, even all the way down to the pub manager. 

“The internet’s always going to do its thing. I can’t really comment on that. There was a video the other day someone had sent me of someone claiming to be Teri (Nava Mau). I’d never met them before in my life. 

“The internet just does this thing and I just have to let it do its thing. And that’s that.”

He went on to say, “I’ve put out a statement publicly saying I want the show to be received as a piece of art, and I want the show to people to enjoy as a piece of art.

“I’m called Donny Dunn. It exists in a sort of fictional realm. Even though it’s based on truth, it exists in a fictional realm, let’s enjoy the world that I’ve created. If I wanted the real life people to be found, I would’ve made it a documentary.

“I’ve spoken publicly about how I don’t want people to do it and if I start playing a game of whack-a-mole, then I’m almost adding to it. I don’t think I’ll ever comment on it ever again.”

For more Baby Reindeer, here are TV shows and movies to watch next, and the best shows of 2024. You can also find all the new shows heading to streaming this month.

Sign up to Dexerto for free and receive:
Fewer Ads|Dark Mode|Deals in Gaming, TV and Movies, and Tech