Both mainstream Regional TV News- services for North West England seem to have a Moratorium of Cumbrian coverage- again

14th September 2021

Dear Readers

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: nwt@bbc.co.uk, 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 granada.reports@itv.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 amyandian@itv.com. 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.

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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