Stephen King addresses similarities between Baby Reindeer and Misery

Stephen King addresses similarities between Baby Reindeer and Misery
Baby Reindeer trailer

If there’s one person you’d want to impress when you’re making a piece of horror-inflected drama, it’s Stephen King, right?

Baby Reindeer, created by Richard Gadd and inspired by real-life events, has become one of the biggest TV hits of the year and it’s received praise from very high places.

The Netflix show follows writer-actor Richard Gadd's experience with stalking and sexual abuse. It follows Gadd's real-life trauma of having a stalker after giving a woman a free cup of tea at his workplace as he "felt sorry for her" and being raped by a TV producer.

The series has been compared, by some to King’s classic novel Misery, which was adapted into a film starring James Caan and Kathy Bates in 1991.

Speaking about the comparison, King wrote a piece for the Timescalling it “one of the best things” he’d ever seen.

“Like 13.3 million other Netflix subscribers, I tried it and found myself sucked in, unable to look away," he said.

“My first thought was to thank God my novel came first, or people would assume I’d stolen it from Richard Gadd.”

Misery follows a male novelist who is held captive by an obsessive fan after suffering a horrific car accident.

Writing about the similarities between the two, King said about Baby Reindeer: “Then comes Martha Scott (Jessica Gunning), who appears one day in the pub where Donny works. It’s a showstopper of an entrance, hands down the equal of our introduction to Misery’s Annie Wilkes.

“The difference between Paul Sheldon (Misery) and Donny Dunn [played by Gadd in Baby Reindeer] is to some extent physical because Sheldon has been badly hurt in a car accident.

“He doesn’t give Annie a cup of tea — in fact would probably only give her a passing glance if she turned up in an autograph line. Donny, on the other hand, invites the devil in, however unknowingly.”

King added: “In Misery Sheldon — bedridden, held prisoner both by a growing drug addiction and Annie herself — reluctantly comes to the conclusion that Annie is right about his new novel.

“She says it isn’t very good, and she’s probably right. In any event, she burns it. She is the doer; Paul Sheldon is the helpless watcher.

“In Baby Reindeer Donny finally takes action himself, knocking his sad suitcase of props to the floor and getting honest — brutally so — with his audience.”

The success of Baby Reindeer has transpired into a real-life fascination with discovering who the actual people in the show are, which has prompted Gadd to discourage anyone from conducting their own investigations into the character's actual identities.

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