Writing to BBC North West and ITV Granada about Regional News coverage of Lancashire and Cumbria

Updated 24th August 2023

Dear Readers,

As you may now know, this Site is a Critique of Regional Television in North West England, with particular regard to the northern three-quarters of the Region: In other words it is that part of the North West of England and the Isle of Man that is north of the M62 Corridor.  On both ITV Granada Reports or BBC North West Tonight local news coverage of Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man is (on average) less than 25%  in what is otherwise very Greater Manchester-Merseyside dominated news coverage.

In the North West of England Spending per Capita on Regional Television by both ITV and the BBC is less than the national average in the North West, but the BBC can make £3 million in savings per annum. It would then be possible for the BBC and ITV to commit more money to Regional Television in the North West without any diminution of of their other programming operations. Furthermore, they do not need to pay directors over twice the salary of the Prime Minister to fill the directorship-vacancies with  the right talent!

The BBC had to make annual savings of over £400 million per annum during the period of the Conservative/ Lib Dem Coalition Government between 2010 and 2015.  They did achieve these savings without, it must be said, any serious diminution of their programming- so it is a stretch to say they cannot today find just 1% of the savings made then.  The point is that both the BBC and ITV can made savings when their backs are against the wall, cutting middle management and back- office functions as required.

However, neither the BBC in the North West, nor ITV1 Granada Reports will free up the funds and make it available to improve Regional Television for the more northerly parts of the North West- i.e. Lancashire, South Cumbria and the Isle of Man, unless some pressure is bought to bear.  People living in the North West are already suffering from the soaring cost of living and the Annual Tax on owning a television is now £157.50 per annum per household, so the money cannot come from further increases in the TV License Fee! However, changes to Regional News Programming in the North West will only happen when scores of you, dear Readers of this Site, write to the BBC and ITV Granada to explain that the amount of coverage right across North West of England is well short of sufficient.

To complain about  BBC North West Tonight the lady to write to is:

Michelle Mayman;
BBC Head of Regional TV and Online for the North West, Quay House
BBC Media City UK
Salford Quays
M50 2QH

Michelle Mayman’s e-mail address is: michelle.mayman@bbc.co.uk

To complain about ITV Granada Reports and their lack of coverage of Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man contact:

Lucy West
Head of News for ITV Granada,
ITV Granada,
Orange Tower,
Media City UK,
Salford Quays,
M50 2EQ

Email Contact: granada.reports@itv.com

Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man really require their own BBC North West Region, separate from the regional programming that serves Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire; complete with opt-out programming from small sub-regional suites based in Carlisle and the Isle of Man. West Cumbria would be transferred to the new BBC North West Region.

This can all be achieved at a cost of £3 million per annum overall since once this new BBC North West Region is set up news-gathering can be shared with the Manchester/Liverpool programming and extra Cumbrian-sourced material with the BBC North East/ Cumbria Region and travel costs for reporters in the smaller BBC Regions will be reduced. There will be the one-off capital costs of setting up editing suites and the new studios in Lancaster and Douglas (on the  Isle of Man).  For ITV Granada, opt-out programming for Lancashire and South Cumbria and for the Isle of Man should be implemented from ITV Granada.

However, if it is too much of an ask for ITV Granada to provide opt-out news for Lancashire and South Cumbria the entire South Cumbria and northern Lancashire area would be better served by being transferred to the ITV Border Region: This would improve local news-provision of the area immeasurably since northern Lancashire and South Cumbria would (with these areas  included in the ITV Border Region) be in a TV Region with a population of just 1.5 million people compared to being in a TV Region with a population of almost seven million people (with South Cumbria and North Lancashire included), as they are in the ITV Granada Region. Viewers in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire would also find Cumbrian news-coverage (which ITV Border covers very well) more relevant and local than the Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire news that so dominates ITV Granada Reports.

If you live in South Cumbria or northern Lancashire, currently get ITV1 Granada Reports and think that your locality would be served better if northern Lancashire and all South Cumbria is in the ITV Border Region then write to:

Michaela Byrne;
Head of News and Programming for ITV Tyne-Tees Border
Television House,
The Watermark,
NE11 9SZ.

Or Email: btvnews@itv.com

The fact remains that neither the BBC nor ITV Granada will do anything about Regional News Programming for Lancashire and Cumbria if people do not write in in big numbers. Only a concerted effort by over one hundred people will move the dial.

#itvgranada   #itvborder    #cumbria   #lancashire    #northwestengland   #lancaster  #isleofman  #northwest  #bbcnwt  #BBCNWT  #SouthCumbria  #NorthLancashire  #Carlisle  #Kendal   #Morecambe  #Cumbria  #Lancashire

Published by northwestisnorthwest

My name is Ian Pennell and I am a freelance Book-keeper: I live near Alston, in the North Pennines in north-east Cumbria. I have friends who live in northern North West England - near Lancaster (which is where I went to University and used to live until 17 years ago) and in other parts of Cumbria. I have two Website Campaigns that seek to promote more localised Regional TV coverage for large rural areas across the North of North West England and North East England. . A big problem is that the Regional Television Bulletins for the North West covers the southern third of the Region about 90% (plus a part of Derbyshire which is NOT the North West of England), covers the middle third of North West England poorly and covers the northern third of North West England not at all! When I was studying at Lancaster University, I used to watch BBC1 North West Tonight because it covered areas up around where I was brought up- in northern Cumbria as well as more immediately locally around Lancaster. Then I came home one day, turned on BBC1 North West Tonight wondering why they were silent on Cumbria and discovered why: Most of Cumbria had been chopped off the weather-map! . People living in the westernmost part of North West England (around St. Bees Head) have local BBC news on their televisions which is 90% about North East England! In rural and northern Northumberland too, Regional TV, as is received by viewers, tends too often to be Tyneside/ Wearside/ Teesside- focussed with little news locally. Communities in North Northumberland have strong links across the Border into south-east Scotland and towards Edinburgh but none of the Regional TV News- services serving Northumberland today ever goes across the Scottish Border for significant happenings of interest to North Northumbrians. I have also done walking in the area, including around the Cheviots in the past- and the Northumberland/ Scottish Borders/ East and Mid Lothian area is vast- but it is largely overlooked by mainstream Regional TV! . North Yorkshire, the largest county in England also falls in the gaps between coverage from BBC Look North (NE/ Cumbria) or ITV1 News Tyne Tees in the north of the county, and the Leeds-based BBC1 and ITV1 Regional TV- services in the south of the county: North Yorkshire is a huge, yet beautiful county, which I have visited and explored in the past, yet is poorly covered in Regional TV. . Based near Alston, near the Cumbria/ Northumberland boundary I am well-placed to discuss Regional TV in all these large rural areas, in which collectively some two million folk live, yet they are poorly covered by the Regional TV News- services set up to serve them. These huge areas are an hour to two hours' drive from where I live: North Lancashire and South/ West Cumbria are to the south-west, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and Lothian are to the north and north-east, and North Yorkshire is to the south-east of my home near Alston. I am well-placed to draw attention to deficiencies in Regional TV coverage for folk in all these areas. The North Pennines, where I live, is arguably another large area that touches on the other three where Regional TV coverage falls through the gaps completely (and that is despite the North Pennines running north to south down the middle of the BBC1 NE/ Cumbria Region). . In two websites, one for northern North West England and the Isle of Man (a country in it's own right that does not have it's own TV service!), and another Website focussing on Northumberland, North Yorkshire and the North Pennines I make the point that Regional TV that informs viewers of important things in their local area is a Public Service, funding for which should be given a higher priority (and if necessary via statute through the BBC's Charter), than funding for Soaps, Films or Sport- which are for leisure. I also give viewers the tools to fight effectively for better- and more geographic-appropriate Regional TV where they live- and to seek it through alternative (often little-known) local TV services, some of which may only be available on the Internet.

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