The Isle of Man needs its own TV News Service

13th August 2021

Viewers of local and Regional Television on the Isle of Man, which is actually a small country in its own right though it is a Crown Dependency of the United Kingdom, get a really raw deal from Television News. They receive ITV1 and BBC1 from the British mainland which provide “Local” and Regional News that is mainly about Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire and south Lancashire, with the Isle of Man getting one item of news-coverage a night if they are fortunate. This is the case if they watch BBC North West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports.


Now, all of North West England is at least two hours and 45 minutes away by ferry- that’s the time the fastest ferries take to sail from Douglas to Liverpool and- in practice- a journey from somewhere on the Isle of Man, waiting to get the car on the ferry and driving to Manchester, or Cheshire (say) will involve travel times of four or five hours and, if the Douglas to Liverpool ferry is not running, the ferry from Douglas to Heysham, in North Lancashire takes over four hours- and then it is a further hour and a half to get by car to Manchester or Liverpool. Distance-wise, it is over 125 miles from Douglas to Manchester- via Heysham and 143 miles from Jurby, in the north-west of the Isle of Man to Manchester (again via the Douglas to Heysham ferry then driving down the M6 and M61).

The Isle of Man is its own small country with a population of 84,584 (in 2019): That’s greater than the Faeroe Islands with a total population of less than 50,000 according to the 2011 census. However, even leaving that aside communities that are 120 to 145 miles away (and with travel times typically four hours) from the urban North West of England should never have imposed on them news-coverage which is 80% about Manchester, Liverpool, and Cheshire *which is what the output from ITV Granada Reports tends to be!). For want of looking at a similar parallel it is like expecting folk living in northern Northumberland and the Scottish Borders (or in Pembrokeshire, South Wales) to accept ITV Granada Reports as their “Local and Regional News”. If the BBC or ITV even considered this as a proposal they would be effectively vaporised by the Viewers in Northumberland, the Scottish Borders or Pembrokeshire! Yet the good folk on the Isle of Man is expected to accept both the BBC and ITV producing a “Local News service” mainly about Greater, Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire.

However, that’s not all because just about every independent country in the World has it’s own TV Station providing news tailored to the needs of viewers: Even the Faeroe Islands, a small country with a population less than 50,000 has it’s own TV station called Kringvarp Føroya (more of which here:, which produces news- output specifically tailored to the Faeroe Islands and in Faeroese (there is an English version too, so you can check it out from the above link). It is a shocking state of affairs that one does not exist for the Isle of Man, and one has to wonder what the Manx government has been doing all these years by not making possible the setting up of a Manx Television station to provide news about the Isle of Man for Manx viewers. There was until recently Manx Telecom TV, an online pay-per-view TV service for Manx viewers with specifically- tailored Isle of Man news: However, Manx Telecom TV closed down on 31st December 2020 after nine years in operation, so the Isle of Man does not have it’s own Manx TV service at all except for the You Tube based Isle of Man TV, which no-one could think is a legitimate TV service (link here:

Viewers of Local and Regional Television on the Isle of Man really should be up in arms about this! When the BBC, in their wisdom, decided that Carlisle and northern Cumbria should be in the BBC North West Region getting Regional news from Manchester in the 1980’s there was outrage- thousands of northern Cumbrians wrote in to the BBC to complain and eventually- after five years of this (with protests from Cumbrian viewers)- the BBC did an about-turn and decided to return northern Cumbria to BBC Look North (NE England), which northern Cumbrians had received until 1986 (I refer to this in another of my recent articles about how People Power can change Regional TV locally- link here: Now, the situation in northern Cumbria was one whereby folk in Carlisle and northern Cumbria could still switch over to what was then Border Television and watch Lookaround, with it’s very local Cumbrian news and coverage northwards into southern Scotland.

However, the situation for Manx viewers of Regional TV is much worse than it was for northern Cumbrians in the late 1980’s, for there is no local alternative to switch over to: From both BBC North West Tonight and for ITV Granada Reports the main news- output is about happenings from further away (and greater travel time away) than most of BBC North West Tonight’s coverage was for northern Cumbrian viewers in the late 1980’s. Manx viewers of Regional Television should be up in arms- writing letters in their thousands to BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports complaining about being insulted with “Local News” that is from over 120 miles away and in another country. They should be writing to their representative in the House of Keys and to the Manx Government about this completely unacceptable state of affairs, pointing out that the Faeroe Islands (with a population little more than half that of the Isle of Man) have their own TV station!

How have folk living on the Isle of Man, a small country in its own right, come to meekly accept this state of affairs? Where is the groundswell of anger, the Public indignation or the planned trips to Media City, Salford to petition outside the offices of BBC North West and ITV Granada?? Why are not the Members of the House of Keys, in the Tynwald (the Isle of Man Parliament) not campaigning and demanding of the Manx Government to make funds available to set up the Isle of Man’s own TV News station?

In the meantime, if you live on the Isle of Man and are indeed appalled to be getting “Local News” which is 90%- plus about another country you should contact Programmers at BBC North West Tonight (email: and ITV Granada Reports (email: to get them to rectify this situation- by providing (at a minimum) a 15 minute opt-out from the Regional News for Isle of Man news. If the replies back are less than satisfactory (i.e. “We can’t afford it!”) then write to the Chief Minister, the Hon. Howard Quayle CBE by email at: You can also write to the Chief Minister at the following address:

Chief Minister of the Isle of Man

Chief Minister Hon Howard Quayle CBE

Office of the Chief Minister

Third Floor

Government Office

Bucks Road


Isle of Man


If you write a letter to the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man and mark the letter URGENT he is more likely to read it and the communication is less likely to intercepted by one of his Secretaries (as is likely with email). And a letter arriving in his office marked for his attention is indeed likely to get his attention! How much is the cost of a stamp compared with the top of Government on the Isle of Man being conveyed the urgency for the Isle of Man to have its own TV News? Do demand that the Isle of Man get it’s own TV Station and for money to be set aside for that purpose, and explain how upsetting you find it to get “Local News” that’s 90% about North West England. Get your friends and family on the Isle of Man to write to him too. Of course, tax-payer funding of TV News is not something that I would naturally support, but when a small country is without a TV News service at all there needs to be Government support to step in and provide the funds to set it up in collaboration with appropriate local TV expertise. It should then be funded through a combination of advertising, business sponsoring and local lotteries raising money to keep it going so that the new Manx TV service is not pressurised in to doing the bidding of whichever political party is in power.

And whatever you do, switch off BBC North West and ITV Granada and go to the Internet- and You-tube based Isle of Man TV to get your news. Maybe when BBC North West and ITV Granada stop getting viewers tuning in from the Isle of Man (and lose money in the process)- and discover Manx viewers clamouring for their own TV Station- they will realise that something is wrong- and they will take some big steps to rectify it!

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.

6 thoughts on “The Isle of Man needs its own TV News Service

  1. Jsut let Kown ween talk Isle of man not part of UK. and the Isle of Man be try for yaer people and manx government not happy try sort out bbc. We have lot independent radio and The nation stations radio manx radio that pay by people to so pay 2 pbs 1 do job and bbc Other 1 is not also have 2 bbc journalists just find out in August got 1 more bbc reporter use be 1 gbc and 1 ITV journalist and Isle of Man tv lol that one do by ex bbc and ITV Isle of Man reporter and Bunch online media. the problem we have at moment Election happened we do not have a government until election now as Parliament has dissolved. So we have wait until new government election and then hosue of keys vote new chief minister so look October befor get government do anything about it because of the C Election. the bbc be summonsed lot time over yaer to Island lot time say look in to do full bbc services be just do shout up there think until recently the last cup yaer that we was a region of the UK when we’re not. I be on MHk and mlc and tynwald on this lot not happen with the bbc . Lot people on Isle of Man not pay tv license because of the lack of service

  2. How have folk living on the Isle of Man, a small country in its own right, come to meekly accept this state of affairs? Where is the groundswell of anger, the Public indignation or the planned trips to Media City, Salford to petition outside the offices of BBC North West and ITV Granada?? Why are not the Members of the House of Keys, in the Tynwald (the Isle of Man Parliament) not campaigning and demanding of the Manx Government to make funds available to set up the Isle of Man’s own TV News station?

    So 1 Isle of Man people not excepting it just that there use radio and Facebook media there is lot people mad that we not have a bbc

    So 2 lot mad People in Isle of Man just that At moment no like go to Manchester because of the pandemic has lot in pass that try and gone to bbc but bbc make lies not do anything Jsut shout up manx people and government

    3) is lot of MHk over yaer say in Tynwald about bbc and get own tv thing at moment Parliament is dissolve because of the election

    manx government did look in at time give bbc tv license money some else in media review but at time bbc tell them go do something so not go that way because give bbc a A chance to start do something

    Be long fight with MHk / mlc and Manx people with bbc

    Now be it’s interesting to see what the next government do after election about it every Election bbc thing about how bad it is come up and every government try get a bit of some for us form bbc some time get some times not but 1 thing not got full bbc like bbc Channel Islands like last I here bbc in talk about over 75s and some talk of online bbc news still nothing be see on that yet

    1. @ bbc isle of man output

      Thank you for getting in touch and I totally agree with your sentiments. It is truly shocking that a small country with 85,000 inhabitants has to get “Local News” that is 95% over 120 miles away and in another country.

      I note that the Isle of Man elections are on 23rd September, we can just hope that some-one gets in with the willingness to ensure that the Isle of Man gets its own TV News service that other small island nations off the coast of NW Europe with even lower populations- like the Faeroe Islands already have.

      NorthWest Is NorthWest

  3. Mmm Yes let hope this way go9: time talk about it get candidates look in to it

    I be talking lot of The candidates of election lot are for fix the bbc and sand this bunch of Manxs election candidates all agreed also sand this page to them .

    and yes it very bad like more news online and radio then tv

    hopefully bbc and ITV do something for Election then agin.

    ITV reporter away again and bbc say go do something for election but no talk yet what look like Hope not like last election in 2016.

    did 1 Election show was 30 mins show they did not cover all of election 2016 lol was had bring over a BBC reporter not use local ones .

    Like old MTTV / Isle of Man tv and Manx radio do better job at moment then bbc and itv on election.

    Hopefully over Election or after Election bbc get sort.

    some manx election Candidates of 2021 some are saying we shuld try get bbc do more get full Service.

    Some say we Shuld make own bbc like gbc in Gibraltar or Rte in Ireland.

    Some say just scrap the TV license if bbc not do anything

  4. ( Ops sand 2 Tim’s not mean too also bit say Go9 was post be good )

    Also think we Should start orn online petition on get full bbc service for Isle of Man

    like lot times is that good way get things done if we get back of MHk and as bbc HQ is in Uk could get MPs to if get both back us And ofcom what think be good way get some done thing get bbc sort in Isle of Man ?

  5. Also think we Should start a online petition on get full bbc service for Isle of Man

    like lot times is that good way get things done if we get back of MHk and as bbc HQ is in Uk could get MPs to if get both back us And ofcom what think be good way get some done thing get bbc sort in Isle of Man ?

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