South Cumbrians and North Lancastrians should watch ITV Border then BBC North West for Best all-round Local News.


1st June 2021

Updated 10th August 2021

Dear Readers

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 free from the ITV Border Website (here 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.

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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