South Cumbrian and Manx Viewers have a Strategy to Put Pressure on ITV1 Granada and BBC North West to “Up Their Game” for the Northern North West and Isle of Man- or Else!

6th November 2020

Dear Readers,

This first week in November was a week that BBC North West Tonight has reverted to Not Covering Cumbria- the only time the county has been mentioned is in Owain Wyn Evans’ Weather-forecast! ITV1 Granada Reports haven’t covered Cumbria either.

If ever there was a week to illustrate how poorly the northern half of North West England- and indeed the Isle of Man- is covered by both main North West Regional Television outlets, it is the week that has just passed. Hasn’t Cumbria also been affected by the nationwide second Lockdown, with pubs, bars and caf├ęs forced to close?

It is surely times like this that viewers who live in South Cumbria, the Isle of Man and northern Lancashire- in areas just a bit too far south to receive ITV1 Border (Cumbrian version) should make sure that they can Vote with their Televisions- by getting Sky or Freeview and then getting a Sky or Freeview specialist to twiddle some knobs on their Digi-boxes so that they can receive ITV1 Border, not Granada (on the Isle of Man there’s the excellent Manx Telecom TV that just covers the Isle of Man. See the website for it here- Then viewers can write to explain why they are abandoning ITV1 Granada Reports and BBC North West Tonight with an email as follows:

Dear Head of Programming, ITV1 Granada/ BBC North West [Delete as appropriate]

I am writing to let you know that I am getting the Sky technician in to re-tune my Digibox so that I can watch ITV1 Border (England)- which mainly covers Cumbria/ ManxTelecom TV [Delete as Appropriate]. That some-one is sufficiently fed-up at getting constant Manchester/ Liverpool/ South Lancashire coverage and nothing locally or to the north of where one lives, that they are prepared to spend money on a Sky technician is an indictment to your news-coverage that you advertise as covering North West England and the Isle of Man- but never the northern half of the Region and seldom the Isle of Man.

Now, the North West Region stretches from Cheshire right up to the Scottish Border, but you don’t cover the northern half of the North West (or, if you do, it is very rarely). I live in South Cumbria/ North Lancashire [Delete as appropriate] and very much feel our area does not get covered adequately. Three or four nights can pass without any coverage north of Preston, which is unacceptable.

I will be advising local friends and family members to watch ITV1 Border/Manx Telecom TV [Delete as appropriate] at to get local news and news to the north of where we all live. I will also consider trying to get That’s TV Cumbria to get more local coverage. If you do not make real improvements to the amount of news- coverage that you give for viewers who live north of Preston or on the Isle of Man you will lose viewers.

Yours Sincerely

If just one hundred South Cumbrians wrote an email like that to the North West Regional programmers and then switched over to ITV1 Border (England) they would soon take note. There would then be a discussion amongst the North West Regional Television programme- producers about how to improve coverage of their northern hinterland (i.e. Cumbria), to stem the loss of northern viewers.

If you want to write an email based on the above template then contact:

BBC North West Tonight: Email

ITV1 Granada Reports: Email

You could even write to ITV1 Border News to tell them you don’t like your area being in the ITV1 Granada Region because “All we ever get is Manchester and Liverpool. Cumbria is never covered! But you at ITV1 Border (Cumbrian version) cover Cumbria about which we care and have friends there!“. You could write to ITV1 Granada using the above e-mail telling them that you have written to ITV1 Border to request getting ITV1 Border’s Lookaround News Programme / being part of the ITV1 Border area because “You at ITV1 Granada hardly ever come north of Preston“. A hundred South Cumbrian viewers still in the ITV1 Granada Region writing an email like that to ITV1 Granada Programmers would really spook them- They would feel compelled to act!

If you want to send an email to ITV1 Border the contact is: or

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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