‘Baby Reindeer’ Should Have Been Toasting Its Success At The BAFTA TV Awards, But A Cloud Hung Over The Biggest Show In The World

The spring sun blazed down on London’s Royal Festival Hall for the BAFTA TV Awards on Sunday and the conditions were right for Baby Reindeer to bask in its success.

Richard Gadd’s dazzling “true story” of his experience with an alleged stalker won’t be eligible for prizes until next year, but he attended the 2024 awards with co-star Jessica Gunning to hand out the prize for best Limited Drama.

Clerkenwell Films’ somewhat parochial British story has been the biggest show in the world for the past couple of weeks, and there can be little doubt about Gadd’s astonishing creative achievement in taking his trauma and rendering it into a brutal, beguiling work of art.

His BAFTA appearance should have been a moment of celebration for Baby Reindeer, but it was a strangely muted affair as the threat of a lawsuit from the real-life Martha (named as Fiona Harvey last week) and questions about duty of care have plagued Netflix.

As members of the British press took their places on the red carpet, journalists were asked by BAFTA publicists if they wanted time with Gadd and Gunning, but the duo — either under orders or by choice — did not do a single interview. They skipped what should have been a walk of glory.

Inside the ceremony, Gadd and Gunning received warm applause as they took to the stage to present the Limited Drama prize, but eschewed performing any comedy skit before naming the nominees. Their appearance was also cut from the BBC broadcast, though this is likely for editorial or timing reasons rather than any issues relating to Baby Reindeer.

Once the gong-giving was done, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Baby Reindeer was one of the talking points of the after-party. British television executives commended the show’s startling success — some even noted their envy at its global cut-through — but many were staggered at the safeguarding saga.

One seasoned producer, who has worked on major Netflix series, told Deadline that the Baby Reindeer scandal had exposed a disparity in compliance standards on scripted and reality shows. This person said Netflix’s safeguarding rules and contestant well-being are unparalleled on unscripted shows, leading them to conclude that similar procedures could not have been in place on Baby Reindeer.

The producer was incredulous that Netflix had branded the series a “true story” when it was clear that creative license had been applied liberally. “They should have said: ‘This is a true story … maybe,’ or something else playful,” the producer advised.

Op-Ed: 'Baby Reindeer' Should Have Been Toasting Its Success At The BAFTA  TV Awards, But A Cloud Hung Over The Biggest Show In The World

A former high-ranking BBC content executive was equally eager to discuss Netflix’s potential shortcomings. They reflected on 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.

The ex-BBC executive said the aim is to narrow the pool of identifying Google search terms, while at the same time trying to stay true to the story. “Would the series have lost any of its authenticity if Martha was a doctor rather than a lawyer?” they asked. In short, the source did not agree that Netflix had taken “every reasonable precaution” to protect Harvey’s identity, as the streamer argued last week.

Op-Ed: 'Baby Reindeer' Should Have Been Toasting Its Success At The BAFTA  TV Awards, But A Cloud Hung Over The Biggest Show In The World

Netflix has been ignoring incoming questions from journalists about Baby Reindeer and, had it not been for the appearance of policy executive Benjamin King in UK Parliament last week, we would know nothing about the company’s position on the controversy. Gadd and Gunning’s low-key turn at the BAFTAs was indicative of an apparent desire to say as little as possible about Harvey being identified.

Baby Reindeer will be part of the BAFTA nominations buzz next year, but it would be surprising if the circus around the show does not color the views of some jurors when handing out prizes at the 2025 TV Awards.

Related Posts

Our Privacy policy

https://news75today.com - © 2024 News75today