17th January 2021
Sometimes, BBC North West and ITV1 Granada close ranks in a way to provide a harsh reality check for those who live in the North of the transmission areas of both the North West Regional Television transmission regions- i.e. for those who live north of Preston: BBC North West Tonight’s short Saturday bulletin yesterday evening was just such a sharp reminder that neither of the two main Regional broadcasters cover all of North West England and certainly do not cover the northern two-thirds of the English North West in any way that could be described as”Well”.
Both ITV Granada Reports and BBC North West Tonight just covered Gerry Marsden’s funeral in Liverpool (he of Gerry and the Pacemaker’s), Mancunians travelling to Staffordshire to get a MacDonald’s meal (and getting fined £200 each for breaking Coronavirus restrictions) and folk visiting Dovestone Reservoir at Saddleworth, east of Manchester: There was NO NEWS about Cumbria, NO NEWS about Lancashire (a low for BBC North West, which normally covers the county well) and there was nothing for the Isle of Man!
Meanwhile, South Cumbrian viewers of BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports were not informed were not informed about the rapidly- rising cases of Covid- 19 across their county and they were not advised that Carlisle should (just for now) be given a wide berth because it has one of the highest infection rates in the country. It would be in their interests to inform them since folk who live in South Cumbria do venture as far as Carlisle to go shopping or for work purposes!
Although BBC North West Tonight is the better choice out of it and ITV1 Granada Reports for viewers who live north of a line running from Southport to Rochdale, that is not to say that either provide a Regional News service that is appropriate for viewers in more northern parts of North West England: If you live in Kendal, Lancaster, Blackpool, Morecambe, Millom or Garstang an appropriate Regional news-service would mainly cover Lancashire and central/ South Cumbria- plus some further-afield coverage of significant happenings from Manchester in the south to the Scottish Border, north of Carlisle in the north along with coverage eastwards to the western half of the Yorkshire Dales. News from these areas will be more relevant to communities in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire.
An appropriate Regional News service for more northerly parts of North West England would also cover Poverty in coastal towns, issues affecting rural communities like slow broadband, poor Public Transport and poor road/rail links, and issues around Farming/ Tourism. Metropolitan urban concerns that do not speak to provincial parts of North West England- like Black Lives Matter, Gay Pride and “Muslims not able to get to Mosques during Coronavirus restrictions”, will not the primary issues of concern for those living in the more provincial parts of North West England: ITV Granada Reports actually advertises itself as “Out of Touch” to its more northerly viewers by having a big spread on its Website for “Black Lives Matter”! Now “Black Lives Matter” will for sure be a trendy concern for students at the University of Manchester, but it is not a concern to a struggling single mother living in Blackpool or a farmer facing a challenging winter on the fells above Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria- their primary concerns would be “Money, Money Money”, How to avoid Bankruptcy, How to Keep Warm in Winter and, also, How to Get Enough Money to Improve Our Living Standards.
If you live in South Cumbria and North Lancashire do, if you can, try to get ITV1 Border (English version), which although it does not cover Lancashire does cover Cumbria (including South Cumbria) very well in news- coverage. The topics that ITV Border’s flagship News- programme Lookaround cover, are also those with more relevance to the bread-and-butter issues that affect viewers in Cumbria and northern Lancashire- namely unemployment, Austerity benefit cuts, tourism, farming and (in winter) spells of severe weather with snow and ice, the like of which has adversely affected travel across much of rural North West England. If you live in northern Lancashire, Lancs Live (see here for link: https://www.lancs.live/) always has a good amount of news, clips and some videos about what is happening in your county and, with some technological assistance, you can connect it to your television to provide yourself with a decent up- to- date local “Television News” service. You can then watch ITV Border (English version) to get good coverage of happenings across Cumbria just to the north.
If enough folk in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire did this- and tuned into ITV1 Border’s Lookaround and Lancs Live instead of ITV1 Granada Reports and BBC North West Tonight , the main Regional Television News services for North West England will soon be forced to Up Their Game so that they dont lose their more northerly viewers.