10 Things You Might Not Have Realised About Twin Peaks

Often featuring on lists of the greatest TV programs of all time, Twin Peaks has thrilled and confused viewers for nearly three decades. We know that many of you are big fans and will have poured over the tiniest details of the show, but below are 10 things even the most hardcore fans may not have realised about this legendary series.

10. The show was originally called North Dakota

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David Lynch had an idea about developing a TV show that would be “a small town thing”, and would tell “a sort of Dickensian story about multiple lives in a contained area that could sort of go perpetually.”

Originally the show was going to be called ‘North Dakota’ and it was initially planned that it would be set in North Dakota’s plains region. The title was then changed to ‘Northwest Passage,’ the title of the pilot episode, before they settled on Twin Peaks.


9. It was inspired by a real murder case

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Co-creators Mark Frost and David Lynch came up with the idea of a girl next door leading a double life that would end in murder.

Their idea was inspired by the 1908 real-life unsolved murder of Hazel Irene Drew in New York.

8. The main theme was composed in 20 minutes

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The score for Twin Peaks, which The Guardian has described as “still marking the summit of TV soundtracks,” was composed by Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch.

It was not a difficult process, and in fact the signature ‘Love Theme from Twin Peaks’ was composed in just 20 minutes!

7. Sheryl Lee wasn’t meant to have a recurring role

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David Lynch cast a local, rather than a professional actor, to play Laura Palmer, thinking that she would simply be playing a dead girl.

But Sheryl Lee turned out to be such a good actress in her own right, that she became a regular addition to the cast, appearing in flashbacks as Laura, as well as playing Maddy Ferguson, Laura’s cousin.

6. Censors wanted to remove the pilot’s tweezer scene

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US censors wanted just one particular scene to be cut, that being the shot in the pilot episode that saw Cooper slide tweezers under Laura’s fingernail and remove a tiny ‘R’.

However, Mark Frost and David Lynch refused to censor the scene, and it remained intact.

5. The show has at least ten strange motifs

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A number of items in Twin Peaks appear multiple times throughout the show’s run.

These include fir and pine trees, cherry pie, coffee, donuts, owls, ducks, logs, water and fire!

4. A hot car inspired the red room dream

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Cooper’s ‘red room’ dream at the end of the third episode, which held the key to the identity of Laura’s murderer, was not in the initial script. Instead, the idea came to Lynch suddenly after he touched the side of a hot car.

Lynch has been quoted as saying: “the front of me was leaning against this very warm car. My hands were on the roof and the metal was very hot. The Red Room scene leapt into my mind. Little Mike was there, and he was speaking backwards. For the rest of the night I thought only about The Red Room.”

3. Its ratings fell dramatically in the second season

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Despite a first series that made it one of the top-rated shows of 1990, viewing figures for Twin Peaks went on to fall rather drastically.

A sharp decline in ratings during its second year meant that it was cancelled by ABC after the second series had concluded.

2. The third series was filmed like a movie

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The long-awaited third series of Twin Peaks, which aired in 2016, was filmed in an extremely unorthodox way.

Because bizarrely, rather than being written and filmed as separate episodes, the third series was shot continuously from a single script, before later being edited into 18 separate parts for our TV consumption.

1. It’s credited with inspiring several other shows

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Twin Peaks has inspired many TV shows since, with Atlantic journalist Mike Mariani writing that “it would be tough to look at the roster of television shows any given season without finding several that owe a creative debt to Twin Peaks,” including The Sopranos and Lost.