Baby Reindeer’s Richard Gadd to make six-part drama for HBO and BBC

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Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
Richard Gadd, the star and creator of the Netflix smash hit Baby Reindeer has his eyes set on his next project.
Richard Gadd, the star and creator of the Netflix smash hit Baby Reindeer has his eyes set on his next project. Credit: Supplied/Ed Miller/Netflix

Baby Reindeer sensation Richard Gadd has set his next project.

But the creator, writer and star of Baby Reindeer won’t be returning to Netflix. Instead, he’s signed on to work with BBC and HBO on his series, Lions. The show was commissioned in February, before Baby Reindeer blew up in April.

The six-part drama was created and written by Gadd, who will also produce, but he won’t necessarily appear on screen.

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Lions is about two men, Ruben and Niall, who were as close as brothers but have been estranged. When Ruben shows up at Niall’s wedding, it leads to violence that triggers a journey back through their lives.

The two met as teenagers and have been through many highs and lows, eventually falling out as adults. The story will cover almost four decades, from the 1980s until now.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 12: Richard Gadd attends the 2024 BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises at The Royal Festival Hall on May 12, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Richard Gadd is making a six-part drama for BBC and HBO. Credit: Joe Maher/Getty Images

The official logline promises it will “capture the wild energy of a changing city, a changing world even, and try to get to the bottom of the difficult question… what does it mean to be a man?”.

The series will be filmed in Glasgow and has the support of Screen Scotland.

Gadd said in a statement he was excited to work with HBO and that we remembered the thrill of buying DVD boxsets of the network’s early hits including Oz, The Wire and The Sopranos. He called the experience of watching them, “some of the happiest moments of my childhood”.

After the roaring success of Baby Reindeer, Gadd is now an international star. His semi-autobiographical series, as of June 11, is Netflix’s 10th most-watched English-language series of all time. The streamer said Baby Reindeer has reached 84.5 million viewers.

Baby Reindeer is a dramatisation of what Gadd claimed are his experiences with a stalker, fictionalised in the show as Martha, who terrorised his onscreen alter ego Donny with an onslaught of messages, voicemails, emails and in-person hauntings. She also sexually assaulted him.

At first, Donny does not react to Martha as you would expect, but then it’s revealed Donny is scarred by deep psychological pain from being groomed and repeatedly assaulted by a powerful and older man in his industry.

Baby Reindeer key art
Baby Reindeer is the 10th most-watched English-language Netflix original in the streamer’s history. Credit: Netflix/Netflix

Baby Reindeer has been widely praised for its considered approach to the complexity of trauma and rape and has been compared to similar semi-autobiographical and confessional works such as Michaela Coel’s award-winning miniseries I May Destroy You.

Since its release, the series has been mired in controversy after viewers-turned-armchair-detectives sought to uncover the identity of the “real Martha”. Gadd pleaded with viewers to stop trying to uncover who the people were.

A Scottish woman named Fiona Harvey was among those named in speculative social media posts by online sleuths. She then “outted” herself as the inspiration behind Martha but denied she was ever convicted of stalking or that she had assaulted Gadd. She also claimed she did not send him tens of thousands of emails, conceding in an interview with Piers Morgan that “there may have been a couple of emails”.

The real-life Martha from Baby Reindeer, Fiona Harvey
Fiona Harvey claims to be the real-life Martha from Baby Reindeer. Credit: David Baker

Harvey is suing Netflix for defamation and filed a claim for $US170 million in damages. Among the allegations, Harvey said Netflix failed to mask her real identity. Netflix has said it will defend the legal action.

This week, British politician George Galloway appeared on Morgan’s show to accuse Harvey of stalking him in the 1980s. Galloway said Harvey was “an obsessive woman” who “called me hundreds of times and she showed up probably hundreds of times”.

Harvey’s team responded to Galloway’s allegations with a statement to Variety that the politician’s claims “has nothing whatsoever to do with what Netflix did to Ms Harvey in 2024”.

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