Viewers of Regional TV in South Cumbria should watch ITV Border’s Lookaround

5th August 2021

Dear Readers

If you live in Cumbria, your go-to news-service for Local and Regional Television should be ITV Border’s Lookaround, which almost invariably has 50% of it’s news-coverage devoted to the county. It is, by far the best geographic- appropriate and all round regional and local TV news-service that there is for Cumbrians, particularly if you live west of the M6 in northern Cumbria. BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria) does have at least two or sometimes three news-items about the county but the other 80% of North East England content is scarcely relevant to anyone living west of Carlisle and the M6: However, the coverage of south west Scotland and the Scottish Borders on ITV Border’s Lookaround is more likely to be closer and within an hour’s drive of where you live. In any case, ITV Border, with its greater coverage of Cumbria and recognition that Cumbria is in North West England makes this the obvious choice over BBC1 Look North any day.

This applies equally if you live in South Cumbria, and your default ITV1 Region is still ITV Border from Kendal northwards. If you live in those parts of South Cumbria where ITV Granada Reports is your default ITV Regional News, getting ITV Border is not an insurmountable problem unless you have no Internet, no Sky TV and cannot get the ITV Border signal from your aerial- and if that is the case get a computer and Internet (so you can watch ITV Border’s Lookaround from their website- here or a Sky subscription package so that a Windermere Post-code can be put into your Sky Digibox- so that you get ITV Border, not ITV Granada. Do whichever is the cheapest and most practical option. If money is still tight but you can get Freeview then at on weekdays, switch over to Freeview Channel 8 to watch That’s TV Cumbria (website here

Neither ITV Granada Reports nor BBC North West Tonight serve South Cumbrian viewers with local and geographic- appropriate Regional news-coverage. BBC North West, which does cover Lancashire fairly well and has typically one news-item about South Cumbria most nights will have periods of a week or more when it does not get north of Preston, typically when major sporting events are on -and, of course, the Olympics in Tokyo is taking up to ten minutes of coverage on each bulletin at present!: Coverage of more northern areas are sacrificed to make room for Sports coverage at such times! ITV Granada Reports almost never covers Cumbria at all.

So, if you live in South Cumbria and can get ITV Border’s Lookaround by default do not watch BBC North West Tonight– which seldom comes within an hour’s drive of places like Ambleside, Windermere or Dent village- and which will never cover major happenings just 30 miles north of you because it is “Outside of their Patch”. Roger Johnson and Annabel Tiffin will let you down with regards to local news! If you live in those parts of South Cumbria where your ITV default Regional News is Granada Reports with the BBC Regional news being North West Tonight – in places like Millom, Ireleth and Grange over Sands- it is sound advice to try and avoid watching either, but to try and get ITV Border’s Lookaround and- if that is not possible or affordable- try and get That’s TV Cumbria at on weekdays on Freeview Channel 8. You will finally get news that is local and geographically relevant to where you live and the nearby places that you visit, and you will be happy to have made the effort.

In the process you can also send an email to BBC North West Tonight at and send an email to ITV Granada Reports at to tell them why you won’t be watching their regional bulletins (because they don’t cover Cumbria) and what you will watch instead. It could be that the threatened-loss of their Cumbrian viewers will jolt the Regional News producers at BBC North West and ITV Granada into taking more care of their most northerly viewers- by making room for news about Cumbria. That would be a good outcome!

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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