South Cumbrians and North Lancastrians should abandon ITV Granada Reports- as clearly ITV Granada≠ ITV North West!

13th December 2020

Updated 1st June 2021

Dear Readers

Viewers in North West England who live anywhere north of Preston should realise that when it comes to Regional News, ITV Granada≠ ITV North West England and that Granada≠ North West. A look through ITV Granada Reports’ Twitter feed (going back through the last 100 posts and you see no mention of Cumbria at all), that ought to be enough to convince any Cumbrian and North Lancastrian that ITV Granada just does not cover their area and is Not For Them! Viewers on the Isle of Man will also be hard- pressed to find anything about their semi- autonomous little nation.

BBC North West Tonight should, to any sane viewer in Lancashire and South Cumbria, be the more obvious choice for viewers who live anywhere north of a line running from Southport to Rochdale. BBC North West Tonight at least covers Lancashire extensively, and there will be news about Cumbria on most, if not all, the main evening bulletins on week-days. Whether the loss of their Lancashire and South Cumbria reporter- Peter Marshall- will detrimentally impact on the amount of North-of-Wigan coverage remains to be seen; however from an objective view-point there has been some improvement of coverage of the northern North West of England in the last few years. One of BBC North West’s weekend news- presenters lives in Preston, he is called Steven Saul and there is usually plenty of coverage of Lancashire and often something about Cumbria when he is presenting the news (even during the five-minute Saturday evening Regional bulletin).

ITV Granada Reports programmers should, therefore, come clean and realise it is too dependent on very large numbers of viewers to bring in the advertising revenue to make it’s operation more profitable: That means giving up the ghost, coming out and being straight with viewers and stating that Granadaland is not North West England, just the urban south of North West England. It should concentrate on providing Mancunians, Scousers and Chestonians with the best amount of high quality news for those areas and provide Manchester United and Liverpool Football Club supporters with all the news about their favourite football teams.

Then the programmers at ITV1 Granada Reports should apologise to it’s frustrated Manx, South Cumbrian and North Lancastrian viewers for not covering their areas for so long, admit that it cannot provide an adequate news- service and then hand the Custody Care and Control of half an million homes north of Preston over to ITV Border, who will be able to provide those viewers with a Real North West Regional news-programme including some exciting coverage of southern Scotland sufficient to really big-up the Northern Pride of North Lancastrians and South Cumbrians: Has it never occurred to programmers at ITV1 Granada that northern viewers of Regional Television, particularly those living in more northerly counties, that they dislike news coming from mainly well to the south of them (because in their mind, a long way south has closer associations with middle-class communities, irrelevant to their day-to-day lives)? Some news from a similar distance- or even further- to the north of northern communities reaffirms their sense of “Northern-ness” and makes the news more exciting and interesting rather than annoying to them. However, what viewers in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire need is more and effective local news- coverage: This is precisely what they are not getting at all off ITV1 Granada Reports.

The apparent ignorance of ITV Granada to places north of Wigan comes out in political coverage- like the Granada Debate hosted by their political correspondent, Hannah Miller. There’s usually a Labour MP and a Conservative MP, but none of the MPs selected come from anywhere north of Wigan. Why would viewers in Lancashire and South Cumbria allow such ignorance of issues affecting their communities week after week? They would be much better represented in the English version of ITV1 Border!

For viewers in the Isle of Man the loss of Manx Telecom TV in December 2020 means that the Isle of Man is now without any form of a real Local Television News Service. The nearest approximation is the You Tube based Isle of Man TV (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCIWwfPM2JDFBa_dj3OykOg). Ideally the entire Manx community should come together to set up their own Community Manx Television service provided by (and for) Manx residents. Both ITV1 Granada and BBC1 North West can then relinquish responsibility for providing news on the Crown Dependency.

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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