This weekend -of 18th/ 19th July 2020 illustrates something very amiss with BBC Regional Television in the North West and North East of England: It is that Cumbria has not been covered at all all weekend on BBC (and nothing about Cumbria has been covered for six days) whilst BBC Look North (North East and Cumbria) has covered four Cumbrian news items over the weekend- two of them about South Cumbria which is outside their transmission boundary.
The people who need to see South Cumbrian news, in the main, live in South Cumbria. It is what is Immediate Local news to folk who live there (see yesterday’s post about Localness: https://northwestisnorthwest.org/2020/07/19/introducing-the-localness-onion-immediate-local-and-regionally-local-and-its-relevance-to-regional-news/ ). South Cumbria gets BBC North West output and whilst BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) goes out of its way to cover South Cumbrian news for the benefit of their North Cumbrian viewers, the same news- items get no coverage at all in BBC North West Tonight. One of the South Cumbrian news- items concerned an Auction House near Milnthorpe- not far from the Cumbria/ Lancashire boundary (https://t.co/MEDhFswI0m?amp=1). Milnthorpe, which I used as an example to illustrate what is “Immediate Local” and “Regionally Local” to the South Cumbrian town, is fairly close to the geographical heart of North West England yet it only featured on BBC Look North- broadcast from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Folk living in Milnthorpe never got to hear about the thriving Auction House near where they live- either from ITV Granada or from BBC North West Tonight but Geordies living in Newcastle-upon-Tyne -over 100 miles away and two and a half hours’ drive from Milnthorpe- did.
If the BBC Regions decide something is significant enough to be broadcast, they must make sure it reaches the ears of the appropriate audiences. In fact BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) perhaps cover a bit too much of South Cumbria and need to cover a bit more of North Northumberland and even into the Scottish Borders (so that folk in northern Northumberland get good all-round coverage). Instead, it is BBC North West that needs to take up a bit more of the flak and cover Cumbria properly (even those areas to the north of their transmission boundary).
Indeed, BBC North West Tonight must cover North West England, not just part of it whilst BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) must not neglect its own northern hinterland- rural Northumberland and overlapping into the Scottish Borders. We should not have the absurd situation whereby neither BBC North West nor ITV Granada (which is supposed to cover North West England too) do not cover the northern half of the English North West for six days- but the BBC Regional News- service that covers North East England produces four news items from the northern half of North West England over just the weekend!
The BBC must produce news that is locally relevant to all viewers of Regional Television. To that end, North West news should be produced for North West viewers and North East news should be produced for North East viewers (and North East viewers should not have to contend with much of their bulletins taken up with North West news that is not relevant to them)! South Cumbrian news- if any is produced (and there should be some)- should be for South Cumbrian viewers and (if it is really significant) those South Cumbrian viewers will want to see what is happening elsewhere in Cumbria!