Cumbria again not getting any coverage on BBC North West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports

Neither of the flagship Regional News programmes for North West England have produced any real coverage of the county of Cumbria during the last week. This is despite features covering Cumbria on BBC Look North including- today- a young child needing to be rescued from the sea off the coast of West Cumbria. This is, of course, outside the transmission areas of the North West Regional programme- producers- but it (again) illustrates the poverty in coverage for viewers who live in the northern half of North West England who nonetheless just live a bit too far south to get ITV Border.

As I have re-iterated on this site several times, it is unacceptable for people who live in Ulverston, Kirkby Lonsdale, Silecroft, Millom (in Cumbria) and Carnforth (North Lancashire) not to get any news about their localities, or significant news about areas of North West England not more than 25 miles (or half an hour’s drive) to the north of them. Furthermore, Proud Northerners should not have to contend with 80% of coverage of areas over an hour’s drive to the south of them (in places they would scarcely consider to be “Northern” in any way) and it would be of great benefit to such viewers to have their Northernness affirmed by getting more news from a higher latitude (i.e. further north as well as more local to them).

It is high-time that the North West Regional programme- producers were made aware that, for at least one million people who live in Cumbria and the northern half of Lancashire that the heavily Greater Manchester/ Liverpool/ Cheshire-related output and the often-prolonged absences of Cumbrian output is not acceptable. In the first instance one should email North West Tonight at: and ITV Granada at:

If one does not get a promise to cover the northern North West, and a recognition that North West England includes Cumbria right up to the Scottish Border in replies from Regional Television programmers one can contact the Head of Programming directly: Michelle Mayman is the Head of Online and Television News for North West England and her email address is:

Failing that, there are the Government organisations that oversee the BBC and ITV: Both the BBC and ITV’s conduct (and their production of content relevant to all viewers) is overseen by the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport which can be emailed at: However, it is better to write a letter to The Right Hon. Sir Oliver Dowden, MP; Secretary of State for the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport at :Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport,   100 Parliament Street, LONDON. SW1A 2BQ. E-mails get put into Spam boxes and intercepted by Secretaries but (as not so many people write actual letters nowadays) a letter sent in the post, marked FAO THE RIGHT HON SIR OLIVER DOWDEN and URGENT has a much higher chance of being seen by the intended recipient.

Alternatively, your local MP is worth writing to. The Right Hon. Tim Farron is the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, and includes places like Grange over Sands, Cartmel and Kirkby Lonsdale where the only choices are ITV Granada or BBC North West. If you live in Carnforth or Morecambe The Right Hon. Sir David Morris is your MP whilst the poor folk of Millom, who live in the south of the Copeland Constituency of West Cumbria- and who also only have a choice between ITV Granada and BBC North West Tonight have all the more reason to complain to their MP, the Right Hon. Lady Trudy Harrison (I am sure she would be delighted to know her re-election was completely omitted from both BBC North West’s and ITV Granada’s coverage- despite 10,000 people who live in her Constituency having to watch one of these Programs if they wanted to watch the local results!!) . Write to- rather than email- your MP at: House of Commons, LONDON. SW1A 0AA. You can write to your MP, whoever represents your Constituency, at that address.

And, if you are feeling really aggravated by the lack of coverage of your county on either BBC North West Tonight or Granada Reports you could also write a letter to the Prime Minister (or a couple to increase your chance of it being read by him): Boris Johnson himself would, I am sure, be interested to know about the North West Regional programmers not covering all of the North West of England. Since Boris Johnson wants to “Level up” the North, he could be encouraged to ensure (thus) that Lancashire and Cumbria get the same level of coverage as (say) Devon and Cornwall (which has it’s own BBC Region) or Norfolk/ Suffolk (which have their own BBC and ITV Region but a similar population to Lancashire and Cumbria). Feel free to write to the Prime Minister at:

The Right Honourable Sir Boris Johnson, MP

Prime Minister and Minister for the Union

10, Downing Street



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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