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Baby Reindeer: Legal action over Netflix show

A woman alleged to be the inspiration for the stalker character of Martha in hit Netflix series Baby Reindeer has branded the show “defamatory” and plans to sue.

Fiona Harvey said she had been “forced” to come forward after receiving online death threats from “internet sleuths”.

In the Netflix drama series inspired by the real-life experiences of comedian and writer Richard Gadd, his character Donny is stalked by a woman named Martha Scott, played by Jessica Gunning, after he serves her a free cup of tea in the pub where he works.

But in an interview with Piers Morgan posted on YouTube, Ms Harvey repeatedly denied being a stalker and described the series “a work of fiction”.

The 58-year-old said the show has “taken over enough of my life. I find it quite obscene. I find it horrifying, misogynistic. Some of the death threats have been really terrible online, people phoning me up”.

She added: “It’s been absolutely horrendous. I wouldn’t give credence to something like that, and it’s not really my kind of drama.”

When asked if she will “categorically be taking legal action”, she replied: “Absolutely, against both him (Gadd) and Netflix.”

In the opening sequence, viewers are told in an on-screen message: “This is a true story.”

It later adds: “This programme is based on real events: however certain characters, names, incidents, locations, and dialogue have been fictionalised for dramatic purposes.”

Both Gadd and Netflix have been approached for comment.

In her interview, Ms Harvey disputed several of the incidents and details depicted, including where the character Martha admits to intimidating Gadd’s character and receives a nine-month prison sentence.

“That is completely untrue, very, very defamatory to me, very career damaging,” she said.

“I wanted to rebut that completely on this show – I am not a stalker, I have not been to jail, I’ve not got injunctions – it is complete nonsense.”

Ms Harvey said she met Gadd when she visited a London pub for a meal. Unlike in the show, she said, Gadd never offered her a cup of tea.

She said she had never heckled his comedy show, visited his home or contacted his parents.

Pressed over her contact with Gadd, she said she had sent a handful of emails, tweeted him about 18 times and written him one letter.

She said she never texted him or messaged him on Facebook as portrayed in the series.

Asked about the show’s title – a nickname that Martha gave Donny – Ms Harvey said she did own a baby reindeer toy as a child.

She said her joke mentioning it to Gadd inadvertently gave the show its name.

After the show’s popularity boomed, viewers began to speculate over the real people who inspired the events behind the series.

It led Gadd to post a message to his Instagram story asking fans to stop with their guesswork.

But Ms Harvey told Morgan: “Saying ‘don’t speculate’, wow, that’s a bit rich now, isn’t it? Fans do speculate.”

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