28th October 2021
After a week with little coverage of Cumbria on BBC1 North West Tonight or virtually nothing on Cumbria in ITV1 Granada Reports viewers in northern North West England were given a treat on the main North West Regional TV News bulletins: It took some of the heaviest rains for six years to fall on the Lake District to bring widespread flooding to do it, but both the mainstream North West Regional TV News bulletins actually covered Cumbria- and it was the first item of headline news! BBC1 North West Tonight actually covered the River Derwent flooding Cockermouth (north of their transmission area in north-west Cumbria), as well as covering more of the flooding in South Cumbria- Ambleside, Kendal and Windermere were all affected, whilst ITV1 Granada Reports– true to form- covered Cumbria less and did not cover northern Cumbria.
On BBC1 North West Tonight there was also extensive coverage of Lancashire- the new Eden project near Morecambe, and the Jamaican/ West Indian heritage in Preston was covered whilst Richard Askam, the Sports presenter discussed Burnley Football Club at length (a real change from always talking about Manchester United, Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club!). There was also a news- feature of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Right Hon. Rishi Sunak touring Bury market and confusing it with Burnley market! There was also a news- piece about soaring gas- prices on the Isle of Man.
On average, over a long period of time the mean geographical location of the news-coverage for BBC1 North West Tonight is close to Wigan, but for tonight (28th October 2021) it is fair to say the mean position of the news was nearer Lytham St. Annes in Lancashire (coverage of Cumbria and the Isle of Man pulls the mean geographical position of the news-coverage more towards the north-west of North West England). If the mean geographical position of the news on BBC1 North West Tonight is consistently inside Lancashire rather than northern Greater Manchester, this website would be happy to promote BBC1 North West Tonight alone as one that all North Lancastrians should watch to get the best all-round Regional and Local News-coverage. But that is not strictly true, especially as at least once a month they will not cover anything from north of Lancaster for up to a week.
However, something else that could seriously impact on folk in northern North West England was covered neither on BBC1 North West Tonight nor on ITV1 Granada Reports: This was the matter of the M6 through South Cumbria (from Junction 36 to Junction 39) being closed because of a lorry catching fire on the north-bound carriageway near Tebay. The heat from the blaze melted the tarmac (despite the heavy rain in Cumbria)- and so the authorities had to close the motorway until the road- surface could be fixed. The truth is, a Regional TV News service dedicated to coverage of all of North West England, having Cumbrians and Lancastrians more in mind, would at least have mentioned the M6 in Cumbria being shut for repairs so that folk travelling that way would be informed.
It’s almost as if Regional News producers based in Salford have thought about and discussed it by saying, “Right, we’ll make the news-item about Flooding in Cumbria headline news, but we cannot cover the M6 too. We have the Mancunians and Liverpudlians to think about too, there’s over four milion of them and they get unhappy if they do not get at least five news-items about Greater Manchester/ Merseyside every night. So we cannot have two news-items about Cumbria!”. One cannot state that this is indeed how they decide news-coverage, but it’s a fact that if South Cumbrians and North Lancastrians share their main TV Regions (ITV1 Granada and BBC1 North West) with Greater Manchester and Merseyside (with several times the population of areas north of Preston) there will always be pressure to cover areas north of Preston less than Greater Manchester and Merseyside together.
This is one of the main reasons why there either needs to be a new BBC1 North West Region covering Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man- or at least an opt-out in the main BBC1 North West Tonight bulletins: Either that, or those areas of North West England north of Preston should be transferred from ITV1 Granada to the ITV1 Border Region (more geographic appropriate, certainly for South Cumbria and- being in a much lower population transmission area- it guarantees greater more Immediate Local news-coverage). The latter option would give viewers in North Lancashire and South Cumbria a real choice of what they want to find out about- BBC1 North West Tonight to find out what is happening locally to the south of them and ITV1 News Border’s Lookaround to find out what is happening locally and to the north of them.