‘Baby Reindeer’ Saga: BBC Gets Spike In Compliance Questions From Factual Drama Producers


EXCLUSIVE: After Netflix got slapped with a $170M Baby Reindeer lawsuit, Deadline hears that the scandal’s blast radius has been felt on other drama projects inspired by real events.

Sources said the BBC has been fielding a surge in duty of care compliance questions in recent weeks from producers of factual dramas keen to avoid a similar crisis on their shows.

The BBC is currently working on a number of sensitive projects, including a Netflix co-production about the Lockerbie bombing and Kidnapped, a BBC3 series about the abduction of model Chloe Ayling.

Only this week, Deadline revealed that the BBC is working with Dancing Ledge Productions to tell the story of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe‘s arbitrary detention in Iran. Production begins this month.

One person said there was “increased awareness” about duty of care issues following the Baby Reindeer scandal and the BBC is helping producers with compliance inquiries. The UK broadcaster’s processes have not changed.

A second person said the “stakes have been raised” by Baby Reindeer after the alleged stalker at the center of Richard Gadd‘s “true story” was quickly identified as Fiona Harvey.

Harvey is now suing Netflix for defamation and negligence, according to a suit filed at a federal court in Los Angeles, which claims that the “biggest lie in television history” was told about the Scottish woman.

Netflix said: “We intend to defend this matter vigorously and to stand by Richard Gadd’s right to tell his story.” The streamer has previously said it took “every reasonable precaution” to disguise those involved.

Several senior industry figures have disputed this, telling Deadline that the BBC would have done more to protect the identity of Martha, played by Jessica Gunning.

One top producer praised the methodical approach taken by the BBC’s compliance officers on similar factual dramas, saying the broadcaster would have changed details including Martha’s profession, her nationality, and the city in which Baby Reindeer was set.

Baby Reindeer was commissioned by Netflix’s UK chief Anne Mensah, who was previously a drama executive at the BBC. The series, which was the most-watched show on Netflix for weeks, was made by BBC Studios-owned Clerkenwell Films.

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