Roger Johnson was on top form tonight on BBC North West Tonight: There he was in the middle of Preston discussing the new Coronavirus restrictions affecting Lancashire and Merseyside. All of Lancashire, except for Blackpool, are under special enhanced restrictions in addition to the Rule of Six – no more than six people allowed to meet together outdoors or in one’s home. Lancashire has had quite a lot of coverage over the last week, if only because of the enhanced restrictions across the county following a sharp increase in cases.
However, in Cumbria cases have also been rising. Barrow in Furness has seen a spike in cases of Coronavirus, though the vast majority of these are asymptomatic. Coronavirus aside, there was also a nasty road accident on the A684 near Sedbergh today leading to a motorcyclist being transported to Preston hospital with serious spinal injuries. None of this made BBC North West Tonight despite both Barrow in Furness and Sedbergh actually being in the BBC North West transmission area.
BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria), which mainly serves the North East, actually covered the situation in Barrow in Furness for the benefit of northern Cumbrian viewers of Look North: Why can’t BBC North West, which as it’s name suggests should cover all of North West England, cover significant events in northern Cumbria for the benefit of their South Cumbrian viewers (for whom Manchester and Liverpool is not local)? They haven’t covered Cumbria for over a week, neither have ITV Granada.
This is completely unacceptable for the thousands of folk who live in places like Cartmel, Grange over Sands, Kirkby Lonsdale, Millom and Ulverston: They get told by the main news- anchor at the end of the Six o’clock News “Now for the News Where You Are”. I’m sorry, but the news of Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire is not “The News Where You Are” for folk living in Kirkby Lonsdale, Kendal, Grange over Sands and Duddon Bridge! Just as likewise the news about Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside is not “The News Where You Are” for folk living in Keswick, Workington, Whitehaven and Egremont- in West Cumbria!
That said, the BBC and ITV don’t take much notice of folk writing in to them to complain about the virtual absence of news about Cumbria on BBC North West Tonight: Believe me, I’ve tried and all that happens is that you get ignored! So if you live in South Cumbria or North Lancashire and would really like a proper North West Regional news- service that does not routinely cut off the top half of the Region you would do better writing to The Right Hon. Sir Oliver Dowden, MP- the Secretary of State for Digital Culture Media and Sport at this address:
The Right Hon. Sir Oliver Dowden, MP
Secretary of State for the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport
Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport,
100 Parliament Street,
LONDON. SW1A 2BQ.
The BBC have demonstrated that they do little unless some-one high up in the Government descends upon them from a great height, as recently illustrated with the furore over over-75’s being required to pay the £157.50 annual Tax on Televisions: Only if enough Cumbrians complain (bypassing the BBC’s internal processes and going straight to the Government) is there likely to be real movement.