‘Baby Reindeer’ Star Jessica Gunning Talks Mastering Accents & Her Debut Writing Credit On ‘The Outlaws’

Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning has been generating headlines aplenty for her creepy turn as Martha in Netflix’s stalking thriller series, but she’s imminently set to return to screens on both sides of the pond in the third season of the BBC/Amazon’s The Outlaws.

Gunning talked the Creative Cities Convention through her role as community services officer Diane in Stephen Merchant’s hit dramedy.

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She revealed that she entered The Outlaws’ writing room for Season 3, which launches on the BBC and Amazon next month, and has a co-writing credit on episode five of the new season.

“I love working with Stephen and he does let us add bits [of writing] here and there,” she said. “I was lucky enough to be in the writers room for Season 3 and I learned so much behind the scenes. I was honored to be a part of that.”

In Season 3, Gunning’s character returns with new sidekick Stan, played by Ten Percent’s Harry Trevaldwyn, who Diane is training up while doing a night class in criminology.

Gunning’s role as Martha in Netflix chart-topper Baby Reindeer about comedian Richard Gadd’s real-life experience of being stalked has dominated the cultural zeitgeist over the past few days. Gunning has garnered plaudits aplenty for her performance including her Scottish accent, and the Pride and Back star detailed today how she has mastered a strong Bristol accent in The Outlaws, which is set in the English city in the south west.

“I work with an accent coach and try and do as much work as I can,” she said. “And it’s amazing having so many crew from Bristol, so I would ask them, ‘How do you say this?’ or, ‘How do you say that?’.”

When she was first given scripts to The Outlaws several years ago, Gunning said she had thought it was a straight drama and had performed her audition in this vein.

“I said, ‘Oh, I wasn’t trying to be funny’ and the people auditioning me were in fits,” she added. “The way Stephen writes his comedic voice is so familiar to me and I knew what he wanted from [the character].”

Gunning was joined on stage by fellow Outlaws cast members along with EP Kenton Allen, who runs Big Talk Studios.

‘The Offenders’ in LA

The Outlaws
The Outlaws

In its early days, The Outlaws was originally planned to be set in LA, Allen revealed, under the working title The Offenders.

The show swiftly moved to Bristol, drawing on The Office co-creator Merchant’s experience, before picking up a big financial contribution from Amazon, which allowed for the casting of the likes of Christopher Walken.

Allen said the city of Bristol, which is playing host to the Creative Cities Convention this year, “had not really been filmed contemporarily in drama for a long time.”

Bridgerton is shot here but there are lots of amazing locations, stories and characters so that was part of the sell,” he added. “And the BBC likes to spread its tentacles far and wide to represent different parts of the country.”

Allen scotched the notion that the cast’s strong Bristolian accents bemuse U.S. viewers, pointing out that global audiences are “becoming more used to leaning into the specifics of a story” and that subtitles are more commonly used in the streaming era.

The Outlaws team were speaking at the Creative Cities Convention after a talk from Mr Bates vs the Post Office director James Strong.

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