Two news- features about Cumbria on BBC North West Tonight.

13th November 2020

Dear Readers

There were TWO news-features about Cumbria on BBC North West Tonight with the outgoing Roger Johnson presenting the programme this evening. The first was a news-item about County Lines drug gangs flooding the streets of Barrow-in-Furness with cocaine and heroin. The second news-feature was about wetlands at a place called Berrier, just south of Penrith, where the Forestry Commission had given permission for lots of trees to be planted. The trees planted would damage the wetlands over time and this had caused a row with environmental campaigners. The site of this particular wetland is some ten miles north of BBC North West’s transmission area- and it is the latest example of BBC North West providing some overlap coverage northwards for viewers in South Cumbria (who do receive BBC North West programming).

In fact every county in North West England- Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire- had at least one item of news-coverage on BBC North West Tonight this evening: This is as it should be, a BBC Regional Programme advertising as covering North West England by its very title should indeed cover every part of the North West of England. This is so much better than earlier in the week when Cumbria only got one mention- with a former War Veteran being commemorated at Kirkby Lonsdale.

More generally, BBC North West Tonight does cover Cumbria even if not more than every second or third day on average. BBC North West also covers Lancashire fairly well, there will normally be a couple of news- items about the county each night. On the other hand, ITV1 Granada Reports will usually only have one news-item about Lancashire and very rarely does it cover Cumbria.

This means that, out of the two main North West Regional News services, folk who live anywhere north of a line from Southport to Rochdale will be better served by BBC North West Tonight. However, as far north as the Cumbria-Lancashire boundary neither BBC North West Tonight nor ITV Granada Reports provide an adequate effective Regional news service, but you will sometimes get local coverage on BBC North West Tonight. ITV1 Granada provide good local coverage this far north about once in a blue moon!

This, of course, is the main premise of this Website. There is not a good reliable Regional News service for northern Lancashire, South Cumbria and the Isle of Man. BBC North West Tonight may have shown two news- items about Cumbria this evening, but then over the weekend and for most of next week they might not get north of Preston. A good local news- service for South Cumbria and North Lancashire would have at least two local news items about the areas concerned every night, not one or two news-items a week (ITV Granada does not even do that)!

This Website will, of course, campaign until South Cumbria, North Lancashire and the Isle of Man do receive good all-round Local and Regional News-coverage: That’s with two to three news-items nightly about South Cumbria and northern Lancashire, a further couple of news-items about the Isle of Man and one further news-item about northern Cumbria. And that is every evening! It’s what viewers in places like Kendal, Millom, Carnforth, Kirkby Lonsdale, Morecambe and Pilling need- and deserve.

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.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: