Edinburgh Fringe one-man show by Fife comedian becomes hit Netflix series Baby Reindeer

Edinburgh Fringe show is comedy drama Netflix hit

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A one-man Edinburgh Festival Fringe show by a Fife comedian about him being stalked by a woman has become a hit comedy drama Netflix series.

Baby Reindeer was released on Netflix this week, starring writer, actor and comedian Richard Gadd from Wormit in Fife, who created the show and performed it at the world’s biggest arts festival in 2019.

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While in his 20s, he was stalked by a woman, and he decided to turn this dark experience into the one-man Fringe show which has now become a hit television show.

Gadd recalled his terrifying ordeal and when he decided to turn it into a stage show for the Fringe.

He said: “Sometimes in the pit of despair, inspiration emerges. I was now in the fourth year of being stalked, by a woman, whose only skill greater than her ability to harass was her ability to evade the law.

“She had somehow just obtained my mobile number and I was in the peak of my career at that point, having just come back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where I had won the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Monkey See Monkey Do. A show which tackled the sexual abuse I suffered when I first got into the industry. 

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“It was a big moment for me. Coming clean with what happened after so many years suffering in silence. But any good feeling in the Fringe’s aftermath was tempered by my phone ringing every single minute of every day where I was met with a whole gamut of emotions from hurled insults to deep expressions of love and longing. It was too much for anyone to bear. 

“In the height of it all, I would go to bed at night and still hear her in my ears. Her voice swirling around my head. Her words leaping around my eyelids as I tried to sleep. Sometimes it was like she was there in the room with me. In the bed beside me, even. 

“I remember during a particularly long night of unrest; the idea came to me.  To stage this whole ordeal, one day, when the time was right. What an opening, it might be, to layer the voicemails on top of one another and shoot them around a stage in a wash of projected light.

“A cacophony of oscillating words and sounds bending and mutating along with her different emotional states. Mirroring her madness. Mirroring my madness. I mean, what better way to start a show than to plunge the audience straight inside the horror of it all?”

Fife comedian, writer and actor Richard Gadd stars in the Netflix adaptation of his one-man Fringe show Baby Reindeer. Photo: Netflix.Fife comedian, writer and actor Richard Gadd stars in the Netflix adaptation of his one-man Fringe show Baby Reindeer. Photo: Netflix.
Fife comedian, writer and actor Richard Gadd stars in the Netflix adaptation of his one-man Fringe show Baby Reindeer. Photo: Netflix.
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The Fife comedian, writer and actor explained how the Fringe show made the leap from the stage to the television screen.

He said: “The Frigne show sold out that month and by the end I was performing two shows a day just to cope with demand. People came up to me at the end and would tell me things like ‘I didn’t know whether to punch you or hug you’ and ‘I felt sorry for you, then I hated her, then I hated you and I felt sorry for her’, and to me that was the biggest compliment the show could get.

“All I ever wanted to do was capture something complicated about the human condition. That we all make mistakes. That no person is ever good or bad.

“The show was commissioned by Netflix in April 2021 and here we are three years later, almost to the day, ready to release the exact same themes to the world. The exact same moral quandaries. Only this time, on a much larger scale. In a lot more detail. To a wider spectrum of people and an audience two-hundred million times the size. 

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“I would be lying if I said I was not back exactly where I was all those years ago in 2019 at the Edinburgh Fringe. Fearing the worst. Praying for the best. Hoping that in amongst all the messy, complicated, themes Baby Reindeer throws at you that people might take notice of its beating heart.”

Edinburgh Festival Fringe posted on Facebook: “From an #edfringe show to a Netflix series! We love to watch Fringe shows and artists progress into the world.”

Social media users responded positively to this post about the new Netflix show, with one saying: “The series was fantastic, what an emotional rollercoaster ride.” Another said: “Binged it across two nights. Incredible.”

While one added: “I saw the original at the Roundabout in 2019, was very compelling and sharp show, thought provoking and had multiple layers about it. Exactly what a great Fringe show should be.”

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