28th September 2020
Another week is getting off to a not-too-promising start for any mention of Cumbria on either BBC North West Tonight or on ITV Granada Reports. There has now been no coverage of the northern half of North West England on either BBC North West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports for over three weeks. The poor folk of Millom, Kirkby Lonsdale, Casterton, Grange over Sands, Ireleth, Duddon Bridge and Corney Fell must be wondering what on earth they have done- for their area and for issues in their county- to be so comprehensively ignored on both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada for three whole weeks (and counting!). Viewers in Kendal, Windermere and Ambleside can switch over and watch ITV Border (and some probably have!), but those- still in Cumbria- a bit further south and west don’t actually have that luxury: It’s ITV Granada (which won’t cover Cumbria) or BBC North West Tonight (which hasn’t covered South Cumbria for weeks and which won’t cover northern Cumbria).
Tonight, ITV Granada news presenter, Lucy Meacock had to apologise to viewers in the North West because this evening’s Granada Reports was not able to air: So what do ITV programmers decide to do? Yes, they ensure ITV Granada’s transmission area gets ITV Calendar (broadcast across Yorkshire and concerning Yorkshire) instead! First, the obvious question of why, in 2020, there is not a back-up plan (with back-up studios) for broadcasting the North West Regional news should there be a major technical glitch like this to stop ITV Granada Reports from airing: Do they not have back-up studios/ facilities elsewhere in Media City? But then, if push comes to shove, why is it then appropriate for folk living in Blackpool, Southport, Lancaster, Barrow-in-Furness and Morecambe to get mostly news about Scarborough, York and Castleford (all of which featured heavily on ITV Calendar)- well over 100 miles away and on the other side of the Pennines?
Lancashire, northern Greater Manchester and Southport have a greater affinity with the Lake District- and are likely to travel there on days out. If folk in the North West travel anywhere for a nice day out they may go shopping- Manchester and Liverpool would have everything they could possibly need- but most people would not choose to go into a big city unless they had to (or unless they had relatives or friends there). If they wanted to visit the countryside, it is the Lake District- with it’s beautiful scenery- that most folk would choose to travel to, rather than Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Yorkshire Coast (over 100 miles from most of the North West). Of course, Greater Manchester and east Lancashire are not far from Yorkshire -and folk from those parts of the North West would happily visit the western Yorkshire Dales- but they would not visit the rough end of Leeds or run-down parts of Doncaster unless they had family or friends living there.
For folk living on the Isle of Man the airing of Yorkshire news this evening must have been doubly insulting- most of the coverage would have been about places 200 miles away: It’s like forcing folk living in Carlisle to watch the news about Birmingham and telling them that is the best that there is on offer!!!
Certainly for North West England, if ITV Granada Reports could not be aired (for whatever reason), either bosses at ITV should swallow some pride and allow BBC North West Tonight to be simulcast (with BBC output) across the ITV Granada transmission area- or they should air ITV Border (the Cumbrian version) across the North West instead. Cumbria is not only almost the northern half of North West of England, but most of Cumbria is more accessible (and quicker to get to by car or train) from Lancaster, Preston, Wigan, Liverpool than Sheffield, Scarborough, Leeds or Doncaster.
Manchester and Salford are, of course, the cities in the North West which are closer to the metropolitan areas of West and South Yorkshire and ITV bosses for the Granada transmission area, with their Manchester-centric view-point thought it better to lump the entire transmission area into the ITV Yorkshire area, thinking that this would be better for most viewers in the North West. It was not and is not, and the Blackpool Gazette carried an article summing up the sense of uproar from North West viewers that this move precipitated (read this here: https://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/arts-and-culture/film-and-tv/these-arent-granada-folk-itv-viewers-baffled-granada-reports-replaced-itv-news-calendar-yorkshire-2986256).
Thus viewers in the North West did not get any “North West” news in the ITV Granada area on one memorable night, yet when the programme is aired half the North West isn’t covered anyway! Viewers of the programme who live in South Cumbria have not seen any coverage of their county for the best part of a month, likewise on BBC North West Tonight.
If you live in Cumbria or northern Lancashire, cannot switch over to ITV Border because you live just a teeny bit too far south to receive it (and you want BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports to cover Cumbria) then do send a message to this Website (at: https://northwestisnorthwest.org/contact/) or contact the Regional Television broadcasters in the North West:
BBC North West Tonight: email@example.com
ITV Granada Reports: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let them know you find it unacceptable that the north of the Region is being ignored: If people do not write in, North West Television programmers and editors will just think everything is fine and dandy when, infact, it clearly is not.
Furthermore, if you live anywhere north of a line from Blackpool to Burnley, you would be certain to get better local coverage (and the chance to find out what is happening north of you): You would be justified in contacting ITV Border- with a plea to be included in the ITV Border (Cumbria) area- because “Granada Is Ignoring Us”. Email ITV Border at email@example.com, and do something that really puts the wind up the Programmers at ITV Granada!