14th September 2021
Roughly once a month- for a period from a week to ten days- both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports seem to agree amongst themselves that they will not cover Cumbria in news- output for that period: In other words, it is “Just Lancastria”- meaning the ancient region defined as modern- day Lancashire, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool-City region and Cheshire only, which is an effective moratorium on covering the northern half of North West England. Both mainstream North West Regional TV services seem to be in one of their Monthly Prohibitions on covering Cumbria at the moment.
One look at the Lancaster Localness Onion- and the areas that are Immediate and Regionally Local to Lancaster- shows that this is coverage of just half the areas that are either Immediate or Regionally Local to Lancaster. Further north, on the Cumbria-Lancashire border the inadequacy of both main North West Regional TV services providing “Just Lancastria” news (with most of that being about Greater Manchester and the Liverpool area) will be even more acute. The map below shows ITV1 Granada Reports areal coverage (and news-coverage concentration) reimposed on the areas Immediate and Regionally Local to Lancaster: ITV1 News Border Lookaround areal coverage is a better contender as a geographic- appropriate Regional News service because more areas that are Immediate and Regionally Local to Lancaster are covered compared to ITV1 Granada Reports coverage. If this is true for Lancaster, then for folk living on the Lancashire- Cumbria border they would clearly get much more geographic- appropriate coverage from ITV1 News Border Lookaround as opposed to ITV1 Granada Reports (even though Lookaround has some coverage of southern Scotland about 50 to 55% is about Cumbria): This is really not surprising because, from Lancaster northwards it is quicker to get to Carlisle and to the Scottish Border (at Gretna Green) than it is to get to the middle of Manchester or Liverpool by car or by train.
Viewers value their local and Regional News output, but they want to know about what is happening near where they live and in locations that they are more inclined to visit, but they are (frequently) not getting it. The farmer living near Cowan Bridge (in far northern Lancashire) and the elderly grandmother in Morecambe are not interested in fox-hunting in Cheshire, old Beatles sing-song in Liverpool or art shows in Manchester: There was a news-feature about legal challenges to plans for Cumbria to be split into West Cumbria and East Cumbria unitary authorities (with the six district councils abolished) that was covered on ITV1 News Border Lookaround that will have been more interest to viewers living in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire, but for much of South Cumbria and all of northern Lancashire the default ITV1 Region is Granada and the only other choice is BBC1 North West Tonight- so they do not get to hear of the news more locally or to the north of them!
This evening on BBC1 North West Tonight there were just two news-items about Lancashire- a manslaughter case after the death of an 86 year-old grandfather from Preston and concern over Covid 19 cases in Blackpool (the most northerly news-item on the Regional News bulletin). And it goes without saying but ITV1 Granada Reports was even worse in terms of how much coverage was from north of the M62 Corridor.
However, the North Lancastrian or South Cumbrian Viewer does not have to meekly accept their loyalty being taken for granted. You can e-mail BBC1 North West Tonight to tell them you want news about Cumbria and northern Lancashire because that is more local to you at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can even email ITV1 Granada Reports to tell them you want Cumbrian news rather than Cheshire/ Liverpool/ Manchester news- because that is more local to you and could they either imrpove coverage of the northern half of North West England or transfer your area to the ITV1 News Border region. ITV1 Granada Reports can be e-mailed at email@example.com. Infact, if you wish to be really radical you can send an e-mail to Amy Lea and Ian Payne, the main presenters for ITV1 News Border Lookaround to tell them that you want to watchITV1 Border Lookaround rather than ITV1 Granada Reports because “Cumbria is More Local than Manchester and Liverpool”. The e-mail address to write to Amy Lea and Ian Payne at ITV1 News Border Lookaround is firstname.lastname@example.org. Get your friends and family who live locally to write in too, to read this website and get involved in the Campaign to improve Regional Television for viewers living in northern North West England and on the Isle of Man.