Much has happened in Cumbria recently- about which North Lancastrians were Not Told from their Default Regional TV.

30th September 2021

Dear Readers

To illustrate the lack of news-coverage that North Lancastrians and South Cumbrians stuck with BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports actually get about northern North West England here are some recent news- features that would have been of significant interest to viewers, that they nonetheless got to hear nothing about:

  1. There are probably a number of Carlisle United supporters who live in South Cumbria and North Lancashire. They would have liked to have been informed of the plight of an ex- Carlisle United footballer called Danny Hodgson who emigrated to Australia. For the last three weeks this young footballer has been fighting for his life in a hospital in Perth, western Australia after being punched in the head by a juvenile criminal (details here for those interested: and here: ).
  2. A young man was brutally stabbed and killed on the streets of Carlisle recently (details here:
  3. Viewers in the Millom area would be interested to know about plans for a nuclear waste dump in the vicinity or off the West Cumbrian coast (details here:

However, the 100,000 potential viewers of Regional TV in South Cumbria whose default Regional Television News services are ITV1 Granada Reports and BBC1 North West Tonight will have learnt nothing of these rather significant Cumbrian news- features, neither will over half a million potential viewers who live in northern Lancashire. Cumbria is not only part of North West England, it is a large part of North West England where major things that happen are likely to have more interest to viewers than similar (or even more serious happenings) in Cheshire- most of which is further away from North Lancashire than most of Cumbria.

It is unacceptable for viewers in northern North West England not to get news about serious happenings in Cumbria- for instance folk who live in Lancaster or Morecambe will have friends and family members who live in Carlisle (just an hour up the M6, and just 54 minutes by train): These folk will travel for a day out to visit their friends/ relatives. Now, supposing a number of North Lancastrians were related to- or close to- Ryan Kirkpatrick who was the young 24-year-old man stabbed to death in Carlisle? Don’t friends and family who live just under an hour’s travel time away (and who will more likely have visited) have a right to be informed more than they might be with National News?

Not only is this unacceptable- neither ITV1 Granada Reports or BBC1 North West Tonight have covered Cumbria this week- but viewers can do something about it to make sure they get all-round geographic- appropriate news: It is called ITV1 News Border, with their flagship Regional News Programme Lookaround. If you re-tune your television and point your aerial north you can get ITV1 News Border’s Lookaround in almost all of Carnforth, Morecambe and large parts of Lancaster (chiefly the Ridge estate, Moorlands and Ridge Lea areas), and you can get good reception in the far North Lancashire villages of Over Kellet, Nether Kellet, Whittington, Tunstall, Cantsfield and Cowan Bridge. If you live just outside these areas you may have to contend with watching ITV1 News Border from their website (the latest instalment of Lookaround is usually available from two hours to 24 hours after it airs- 6 pm on ITV1 in the ITV1 News Border Region on weekdays): The relevant website address is here

However, if you get your TV from an aerial reception- as most folk still do- and you live just outside of some of the areas where you can get ITV1 News Border- if you live near a tree (and provided your neighbours are okay with it) then you can get some-one who is good with heights and ladders to rig your aerial up the top of a tall tree (and clear of the leaves) and have it pointed north. You will then be able to pick up ITV1 News Border and Lookaround on your television in (say) the Bowerham area of south Lancaster, Heysham or the Skerton area. However, it would be wise to clear that with the neighbours by explaining why you are doing it- perhaps you can get them to put their aerial up a pole attached to the top of a high tree if they find their news-coverage is too much skewed to the south!

If you watch ITV1 News Border’s Lookaround followed by BBC1 North West Tonight (the coverage of which extends a bit further north than ITV1 Granada Reports– and it covers Lancashire rather better), you will get better local and all-round Regional News-coverage. Of course, ITV1 News Border does have some 45% coverage of southern Scotland (which is not actually that far from northern Lancashire), but you get typically 50 to 55% coverage of Cumbria- all the news locally to the north of you which you will almost never get off ITV1 Granada Reports. BBC1 North West Tonight covers Cumbria poorly, even though it is better than ITV1 Granada Reports regards news from north of Preston! BBC1 North West Tonight does, however, cover Lancashire fairly well so it would be the obvious choice over ITV1 Granada Reports for Lancastrians wanting to find out what is happening locally and just south of them.

Then, if one really wants to put pressure on Regional TV News producers that are supposed to serve all of North West England, one could e-mail to ITV1 News Border to state that you would like your community to be in the ITV1 News Border transmission area because “What happens in Cumbria is of more interest than what happens in Merseyside or Cheshire”. The relevant email addresses to write to are: or email (Amy Lea and Ian Payne are the ITV1 News Border Lookaround presenters).

Get your friends and family to write to ITV1 News Border- to also explain that they want to be in the Television Region that provides more geographic-appropriate news-coverage: Do this, because if enough folk do this, then eventually Presenters at ITV1 Granada Reports and BBC1 North West Tonight will get to know and realise that viewers in the north of their respective transmission areas are that unhappy with the North West Regional TV News services that they are asking to be moved to an adjacent TV Region to get more geographic- appropriate news. It will shock them out of their taking viewers in northern Lancashire and South Cumbria for granted- and they might make more effort to actually provide a proper “All of the North West” Regional news- service to retain their loyalty. If at least one of the two mainstream North West Regional TV News- services does this- say programmers at BBC1 North West Tonight decide to cover all of Cumbria properly, so that viewers in northern Lancashire get proper all-round local news-coverage from Cheshire to the Scottish Border- that will be a good result for the Campaign to improve Regional Television for Viewers in Lancashire and South Cumbria!

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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