Another Cumbrian News Drought from the North West Regional TV Producers

4th August 2021

Dear Readers

Last night, 3rd August 2021 saw no Cumbrian news on either BBC North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports– which seems to have been the case so far this week. Viewers of Regional Television, who live in northern North West England but who nonetheless have the main North West Regional TV broadcasters for both ITV and the BBC are constantly short- changed.

BBC North West Tonight does cover Lancashire reasonably well, last night there was an extensive piece of coverage of farm thefts in the Ribble Valley and persistent Covid-19 cases in Blackpool. But it goes through periods (like this last week) when Cumbria is scarcely even mentioned once. At such times there are unusual quirks whereby BBC Look North (NE/ Cumbria) will often cover plenty of Cumbrian news- including South Cumbria (the River Kent near Kendal and Barrow in Furness both got a mention)- whereby the people who would really benefit from getting this news like in the north of BBC North West’s transmission area. ITV Border’s Lookaround continues, as ever, to cover Cumbria extremely well- not least since a number of competitors in the Olympic Games (2020) come from Cumbria and they have been featured heavily.

South Cumbria and northern Lancashire are indeed in North West England- and the receipt of geographic-appropriate and regionally-appropriate Regional news is important so I would not for a moment suggest watching BBC Look North (NE/ Cumbria), which mainly covers North East England. However, it remains important that overlooked viewers in the northern North West of England have the choice to vote with their televisions in a manner that gets them the best- possible geographical Regional coverage. Alternatives, such as a combination of ITV Border Lookaround (which you can watch via the Internet to get the Cumbrian coverage) then BBC North West Tonight for more southern North West England coverage- then writing to the North West’s two main Regional TV producers to explain why you are changing your viewing choices will- as ever- send a strong message to Programmers in Media City, Salford that news- coverage for viewers north of Preston is simply not good enough.

If you wish to make an even stronger point that Regional TV north of Preston is not acceptable for your community, you could just watch ITV Border Lookaround for Cumbrian news then That’s TV Lancashire (Freeview Channel 7 at on week-days)- or just catch up from their website (here: or from Lancs Live (here: to get the Lancashire news. And, if you live in Morecambe or Carnforth those sources will provide you with just about all happenings within an hour’s drive- so you can boycott both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports to make the point to them that their versions of North West Regional News- which cuts off the northern half of North West England is not satisfactory to you. Do write in- and tell them- if you plan to do this and get your friends and family to do the same. This will help to jolt Regional TV producers at BBC North West and ITV Granada out of any sense that they can take the unquestioning loyalty of their more northerly viewers for granted!

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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