1st October 2021
Three fairly serious developments have gone unreported across northern Lancashire this week, both on BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports. Firstly, there was an attempted murder in Blackpool whereby a young man aged just 19 years-old was attacked and stabbed outside a nightclub by nine men who came from London. This shocking incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning, that is 29th September (details here: https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/blackpool-attempted-murder-update-nine-21733061). It is fairly certain that if something like this happened in the middle of Manchester it would have made headline news. The management of a nursing home, at Thornton Cleveleys (just north of Blackpool) where 32 elderly residents with dementia were cared for, has just been rapped by the Care Quality Commission for failing to provide adequate care for their vulnerable residents (details here: https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/thornton-cleveleys-nursing-home-staff-21732718). Again, one cannot help but wonder whether this would have been in the North West Regional TV News had the care home been in Manchester or Liverpool.
The third North Lancastrian happening from recent days that should have really made the news was concerning a teenage girl who took her own life after being under the care of four different health trusts over a five- year period. The girl had reported sexual abuse at various times in her life and she was at a mental health unit in Heysham in June 2018 when she ran away and was later found dead. The coroner ruled that she had taken her own life and that there had been failings in the health trusts tasked with caring for her. More details of this tragic series of events and the coroner’s findings can be found here: https://www.lancs.live/news/local-news/tragic-teen-maziellie-mackenzie-took-21740063.
That’s three major developments, impinging on the lives of a number of people living in these parts of North West England not featured on either BBC1 North West Tonight or ITV1 Granada Reports. This is not about these areas being beyond the transmission areas- they are well inside the north of both ITV1 Granada’s and BBC1 North West’s transmission areas, but they have not been reported in the Regional Television news- at all. The incidents are all fairly serious, one involves the neglect (wilful or otherwise) of 32 particularly vulnerable elderly residents in a care home and the other two suicide and attempted murder: In Lancashire! One is certain if any of these things happened in Manchester or Liverpool it would have been reported on.
One thing this would seem to indicate is that news- reporters are happier reporting on happenings, serious or otherwise, that involve as little travelling from the main Regional Television studios in Salford Quays as possible! The BBC’s decision to shut down sub-regional offices in Lancaster and Blackpool is relevant to this, because if there are reporters based in North Lancashire there is less of the travelling-distance disincentive to go and find out what is happening and make a report on it. This reflects badly on Regional Television in the North West because it would seem to viewers that the TV Producers and Reporters care more about what is happening in Manchester or Liverpool than what is happening in Blackpool, Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancaster or- indeed Barrow-in-Furness or Millom.
So, if you live anywhere north of Preston and are angry that the North West Regional TV News- producers don’t cover major happenings “Because it is a long way to send a Reporter”, then you are right to be angry. Write in and explain that this is unacceptable for viewers in the northern North West and tell the Regional TV News producers that you will either watch That’s TV Lancashire (Freeview Channel 7, 6 pm on weekdays), if you can get it or you will get your news online with Lancs Live (website here: https://www.lancs.live/). By the way Lancs Live does also include a number of news- features about Cumbria on it- the news-editors who maintain this local news website recognise that much of Lancashire is far enough north to be interested in what happens in Cumbria (even northern Cumbria): You could point out in your correspondence that Lancs Live does include some Cumbrian news for the interest of North Lancastrian users of this website- so why does the Regional TV in the North West not do this? If you live in North Lancashire- and well north of Preston- you can try and watch ITV1 News Border’s Lookaround– from their website (here: https://www.itv.com/news/border) if you cannot get it from your TV transmitter. You can tell the Regional TV Programmers in the North West that ITV1 News Border’s Lookaround will cover news locally to the north of where you live very well, that you are more interested in what happens in Cumbria than what happens in Cheshire or the Wirral because it is closer.
All this really requires the writing of a stiff letter to Regional TV News Programmers in the North West of England- as an e-mail to the Programme will not convey how viewers in the northern North West should rightly feel about all this, nor will an e-mail be certain to reach the intended recipient. It will cost 70 pence for a first-class stamp but it is more likely to reach the intended recipient and make a big impact.
To write to the Head Programmer for BBC1 North West Tonight write to:
Michelle Mayman, Editor at BBC North West TV and Online,
Quay House, Media City UK, Salford Quays, SALFORD. M50 2QH.
To write to the Head Programmer for ITV1 Granada Reports write to:
Lucy West, Head of News for ITV Granada Reports,
Granada Reports, Orange Tower, Media City UK, Salford Quays, SALFORD. M50 2HF.