12th October 2020
BBC North West Tonight covered the tragic situation where a pilot died after losing control of his microlight plane crashed in the North Lakes, near Troutbeck and midway between Penrith and Keswick (more can be read on this tragic accident here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-54501995). The fact remains that BBC North West covered this news-item both in the lunchtime bulletin of only ten minutes’ long (when the friendly and outgoing Annabel Tiffin presented North West Today), and also on the main evening bulletin. The charismatic and outgoing Roger Johnson presented BBC North West tonight.
This is good news because the northern Troutbeck, which is between Penrith and Keswick just off the A66 (and which is a different place to the Troutbeck near Windermere, in South Cumbria)- is some ten miles north of BBC North West’s northern transmission boundary. Yet BBC North West Programmers saw fit to cover it because the northern Lake District and northern Cumbria is still part of North West England. Programmers for BBC North West seem finally to be awakening to the fact that their viewers in the north of their transmission area live not far from the North Lakes and may visit the area on day-trips in fine weather, that viewers who live in South Cumbria might be interested in significant happenings across their own county. It is all the more impressive given that today the half of the North West south of Cumbria (in which most of the population of the Region lives) has been placed under new Coronavirus restrictions with the Liverpool area being put under lockdown conditions akin to those in place across Britain during April.
Now, BBC North West Tonight is a long way from being an ideal Regional News service for viewers in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire, with two or three news-items covering Cumbria/ northern Lancashire in each bulletin. But it is a start and if (a big “if”) Cumbria- including northern Cumbria north of the transmission boundary- starts to feature in the lunchtime and main bulletins every night then BBC’s flagship Regional News Programme for North West England will come to be seen to cover all of the North West properly.
Even as things stand I would now say this: If you live anywhere north of Preston ITV Granada Reports will let you down big time: ITV’s flagship Regional News service for North West England has not mentioned Cumbria for weeks and it covers Lancashire fairly intermittently, so watch BBC North West Tonight.
You do now stand a chance of getting some local coverage on BBC North West Tonight and, if something major happens up to twenty-five miles north of you (wherever you live in South Cumbria) you stand a good chance of hearing about it. Viewers in Lancashire will almost always receive two or more items of news- coverage about their county on the main evening bulletins BBC North West Tonight. However, it is not guaranteed, and if you live in South Cumbria and receive BBC North West Tonight you can go for a week or more without hearing anything about Cumbria on BBC North West Tonight. There is still a long way to go before viewers of Regional Television who live in South Cumbria or northern Lancashire have a North West Regional News service that provides really effective local and regional coverage as pertaining to those areas.