ITV Granada off-air, so ITV leaves North West Viewers with ITV Calendar (Yorkshire): Neither Granada or BBC North West Tonight have shown Cumbrian News for weeks.

28th September 2020

Dear Readers

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:

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: or contact the Regional Television broadcasters in the North West:

BBC North West Tonight:

ITV Granada Reports:

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, and do something that really puts the wind up the Programmers at ITV Granada!

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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