1st June 2021
Updated 14th June 2021
(Update: ITV.Plc are not providing free website links from the Regional News websites to their main evening Regional TV programmes after all: Quelle surprise!)
This evening I watched BBC1 North West Tonight, ITV1 Granada Reports and ITV1 Border’s Lookaround: It is amazing what the Internet age has bought to enable viewers with a computer to watch Regional News programmes from different BBC and ITV1 Regions. For a limited period, ITV1 Granada and ITV1 Border have started making their flagship Regional News programmes available on the Regional TV websites to watch later: Unfortunately both ITV Granada and ITV Border later removed the link to their main news- programmes but you can still get it off ITV Hub for £3.99 a month (ITV.Plc, being a commercial organisation like to have viewers pay for it. However, the Internet provides means of watching news from ITV Regions that might not be the default one for your area, though sadly, many folk (even those with a computer and good Internet connection) do not realise the power it gives them to vote with their televisions (or, should I say, viewing choices online) when the default BBC and ITV1 Regions do not provide them with geographically- appropriate Regional News- coverage.
The Regional news- programmes that are seen across different areas of North West England (most of Cumbria happily has ITV1 Border as their default ITV Region, but Lancashire and parts of South Cumbria have ITV1 Granada and BBC North West as their default TV Regions) confirm the thesis that this Website asserts. Namely, that if you want coverage of Cumbria ITV1 Granada Reports is appalling, BBC North West Tonight is just- about bearable and ITV1 Border’s flagship Lookaround programme is excellent. BBC1 North West Tonight also covers Lancashire better than does ITV1 Granada Reports, although ITV1 Border (as might be expected) does not cover Lancashire in it’s coverage.
This evening, the coverage of Lancashire on ITV1 Granada Reports concerned the on-going worry over increasing cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 in parts of east Lancashire (this seems to be the same news- item as on previous evenings- with variations), a ride breaking down at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Morecambe Football Club being promoted to the First Division. To be fair, the news has come a bit further north than ITV1 Granada Reports‘ normal showing but it has not mentioned Cumbria (which is usually the case).
BBC North West Tonight did cover Cumbria this evening, with a big piece on tourism in the Lake District and how the fine warm weather has given the Tourist Industry there a boost. Moreover, BBC1 North West Tonight featured Ullswater in their news- bulletin and Ullswater is just north of BBC North West’s transmission area, being about ten miles south-west of Penrith. The recognition of communities at the northern end of their transmission area and of the Lake District extending over the transmission boundary- and thus of the need to report on happenings a bit further north is commendable. BBC1 North West Tonight also covered Lancashire extensively with the on-going situation with Covid 19 in east Lancashire communities and both Blackpool and Morecambe football clubs getting extensive coverage. BBC1 North West Tonight does usually have one item about Cumbria on most nights (though not every night and occasionally there might be nothing for a few nights), normally BBC North West does not extend north of the transmission area but it will if the Programming Team at BBC North West decide that something happening in the northern Lake District warrants it.
However, if you live in South Cumbria and it is Cumbrian news that you value you cannot beat ITV1 Border’s flagship Lookaround programme which had four news- items about Cumbria and an additional two sports- features about Carlisle United and another the football clubs of Workington and Whitehaven in West Cumbria. The first headline news feature covered parking and large numbers of tourists in the Lake District with extensive coverage of South Cumbria. In addition there were five news- features covering Dumfries and Galloway in south-west Scotland and a news- feature on Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. And this, is a night of less Cumbrian coverage than normal for ITV1 Border Lookaround– however viewers of ITV1 Border Lookaround who live in northern Cumbria do appreciate coverage across the Scottish Border into Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders because many of these areas are within an hour’s travel time of their homes and there are strong cross-border links. Even so, a Regional News- programme that provides Cumbrians with 45-50% of coverage of their own county (with that being a slow-Cumbrian-News night!) is exemplary. It is far to say that the 80% of the population of Cumbria for whom ITV1 Border is their default ITV1 Region would suffer a big loss of a very valued local and Regional News- service were ITV1 Border to be mothballed and axed!
Given the availability of different Regional News- services via the Internet and- in fact the availability of different BBC1 and ITV1 Regions if one has Sky Television viewers of Regional Television in North West England have a lot more choice than they commonly realise. If you live in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire you should watch the Regional News- or combinations of Regional News – that give you maximum exposure to what is happening within an hour’s travel time of where you live -north, south, east and west and with a higher concentration of that news being from all places within half an hour’s drive.
This means that, if you live anywhere north of a line from Southport to Rochdale your go- to Regional News Service should be BBC North West Tonight if you want local and Regional News- coverage. This evening, for instance, for anyone living in say Preston or Blackpool BBC1 North West Tonight provided plenty of coverage about Lancashire but also a north- south sweep across North West England from central Cumbria down to Cheshire- locations that are about an hour’s drive from Preston: In other words, it was much more geographically- appropriate (though BBC1 North West Tonight does, at other times skew much more towards the M62 Corridor and omit Cumbria). Certainly, if you live in Lancashire you should watch BBC1 North West Tonight if you want more local news- avoid ITV1 Granada Reports (unless, that is, you like 85% coverage of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire!).
If, however, you live in Cumbria- even in those areas where your default ITV1 Region is Granada then your go-to Regional News service is ITV1 Border. If you have to get Sky Television and get the Digi-box changed on your television to get it it is worth doing just to get more news about Cumbria: If you can’t afford Sky but have a Computer and Internet you can still watch ITV1 Border’s Lookaround programme using ITV Hub at £3.99 a month. Viewers in South Cumbria can then watch BBC1 North West Tonight to find out what is happening just to the south of them.
I would even advise viewers in northern Lancashire- that is anywhere north of Preston- to try and get ITV1 Border rather than the default of ITV1 Granada even though ITV1 Border does not provide coverage of Lancashire- simply because ITV1 Border covers Cumbria very well so you get good coverage of what is happening to the north of you. This should then be complemented by watching BBC1 North West Tonight, which comes straight after ITV1 Border’s Lookaround on weeknights and which will provide the Lancashire coverage- and coverage of the metropolitan areas in the south of the North West Region. It is that combination that provides the best-possible local and all- round coverage of where you live. That is particularly true if you live somewhere like Morecambe or Carnforth where anything happening between the Scottish Border and northern Manchester could be locally significant (i.e, bad weather on the M6 and you plan a day-trip out): You just won’t get the northern half of the coverage unless you watch ITV1 Border’s flagship Regional News programme Lookaround.