Neither BBC North West nor ITV Granada have got North of Preston in run-up to Euro-final Week-end!

11th July 2021

Dear Readers

I don’t know what it is about the run- up to major national Sporting events (like the Euro 2020 finals)- or when Manchester United or Liverpool Football Club get into the Champions League, but it seems major sporting events involving England or Manchester United/ Liverpool Football Club seems to make the two main Regional TV News services that are broadcast across the North West of England and the Isle of Man forget about anything that might be happening north of Preston. Yes, even BBC North West, which does cover Cumbria at times and which usually covers Lancashire quite well retreats to the M62 Corridor as if though there are no England- supporters in Cumbria or northern Lancashire! One unfortunately has to expect it of ITV Granada, but when both the main Regional TV services do this- just what are viewers who live in Lancaster, Morecambe, Kirkby Lonsdale or Millom (all places where both the default ITV and BBC Regions are those that retreat to the Mancunian and Liverpudlian comfort zones at times of national importance).

The fact that it is the week-end- and the Regional bulletins are short- seems also to give both ITV Granada and BBC North West a sense that they must abandon locations in the north of their transmission areas and on the Isle of Man. Short bulletins at weekends (and during holiday periods such as over Christmas/ New Year) mean room for only a few items, so the big populous areas always win out because areas with the highest numbers of viewers always win out. So- “Forget those areas up to 100 miles further north stuck with both BBC North West and ITV Granada: They’ll have to put up with it because They Have No Alternative! It’s the Weekend and no-one should be mythered to travel to Cumbria today!” seems to be the assuming attitude of the Programmers and Editors at the Media City, Salford headquarters of both BBC1 North West and ITV1 Granada!

Er… Excuse me? If I were a viewer living in Kirkby Lonsdale or Carnforth and I heard that attitude expressed- or even thought that Regional TV Programmers could not be bothered to send anyone to Cumbria or northern Lancashire to report on happenings closer to home because it’s Sunday and there’s a big Football Match on I would be livid- especially if I later found out I was not informed about something really serious happening closer to home! On that subject, a there was a trial of three men accused of attacking and sexually assaulting a Kendal man reported on Friday- this was covered on BBC Look North (NE/ Cumbria) but not BBC North West Tonight- broadcast to the people of Kendal (more here: Fortunately, the good folk of Kendal can watch ITV1 Border Lookaround and can get to hear about such matters locally, but just five miles to the south that option is not readily available since the default ITV1 Region is Granada- and they are not getting told about sex assaults and trials for the suspected perpetrators in their local town or in nearby communities! Instead they get football and lots of excited Mancunians and Liverpudlians being interviewed, street names in Greater Manchester being changed to football idols.

Come on, BBC North West- if you maintained at least one news-item about Cumbria/ North Lancashire even over the weekend you would cement your position as a clearly better North West Regional News- service and lure more Lancastrians and South Cumbrians to your news- bulletins from ITV Granada.

This Website is also happy to dis-abuse News- Programmers and Editors at both BBC1 North West and ITV1 Granada of the notion, should they have it, that it is Okay to ignore Cumbria, northern Lancashire and the Isle of Man when it is very expedient for them to do so: It assuredly is not Okay, whether its a Weekend, whether there’s a big Football Match (and the Programmers and News- presenters want to get home to watch it) or even if it is five o’clock on Christmas Eve. If there is something serious happening in northern North West England you, the Programmers, have a duty to inform the good folk living in northern North West England about the serious happening nearby (even, if it is just north of your transmission area).

I also dis-abuse North West Regional Programmers based at Media City (whether they work for BBC North West or ITV Granada Reports) that their viewers who live north of Preston “Have Nowhere Else To Go”- because there is northern competition that is happy to relieve them of their responsibilities to them if viewers prefer the more northerly Regional TV outlets instead. For instance, viewers in northern Lancashire might not know it but if they have Freeview, then on Freeview Channel 7 there is That’s TV Lancashire and if they have Sky Television they can also get their Digi-Box re-programmed so that they can pick up ITV1 Border Lookaround rather than ITV1 Granada Reports.

Of course, ITV1 Border does not cover Lancashire in news- output (as both BBC1 North West and ITV1 Granada would be happy to tell them!) but it does cover Cumbria- including South Cumbria- extremely well (often well over 50% coverage of Cumbria): This means that for someone living in Lancaster or Carnforth they would get more coverage at least coming within 30 minutes’ drive of their home than they would ever get off ITV Granada Reports. North Lancastrians do have a strong affinity to Cumbria, particularly to the Lake District- and that is much more than viewers have with Manchester (which is a big, potentially violence-stained Metropolis in the 21st Century that North Lancastrians have less reason or need to visit in 2021 than they used to!). Thus, there is absolutely nothing to stop North Lancastrians contenting themselves with That’s TV Lancashire (or the news-site LancsLive) for the local news just to the south of them and ITV1 Border Lookaround for the local news just to the north of them.

Therefore, Programmers and Editors for BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports, just to be clear- there is competition for the loyalties of your more northerly viewers: One of the things that this Website will do is to tell all those viewers in the oft- overlooked communities scattered between Preston and Kendal- and along the Cumbrian coast up to Millom- about these alternative sources of more relevant local news-coverage. Viewers in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire might not know much about these alternative sources for more geographic-appropriate Regional and Local News-coverage yet, but this Website will do everything to ensure that they do get to know about them: And that- I can assure viewers of Regional Television in the northern North West of England- a Promise!

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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