30th October 2021
Last night, and for the second night in a row- BBC1 North West Tonight covered Cumbria extensively with regards to the aftermath of flooding. It was again headline news and- not only that- BBC1 North West Tonight again covered parts of the northern Lake District: The flooding of homes in Cockermouth was covered, as was the fact that Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater joined up to be one big lake as water- levels rose. This coverage of the northern Lakes was for the benefit of BBC1 North West viewers in South Cumbria- so that these viewers get a picture of what is happening across their county. This is commendable!
Since Cumbria is part of the Region of North West England- including the parts north of BBC1 North West’s and ITV1 Granada’s transmission areas- it is also right that BBC1 North West Tonight covers all of Cumbria in news-output, particularly as the name of the flagship BBC Regional News programme suggests it does. And it would be a positive development if the BBC in North West England committed to covering the northern half of North West England more effectively (and on a consistent basis) in future too.
It is clear that BBC1 North West Tonight provides greater exposure of happenings North of Preston than does ITV1 Granada Reports, which is why viewers in North West England who live North of the M62 Corridor would do well to choose BBC1 North West over ITV1 Granada Reports every time. Alas, coverage of Cumbria by BBC1 North West Tonight remains sporadic: You might get a couple of nights with Cumbria being covered (sometimes there may even be two news-items about the county) along with two or three news- features about Lancashire, then you may well get a week when BBC1 North West Tonight don’t get north of Blackpool and the Isle of Man is also not covered.
This is why it is essential that viewers put pressure on the BBC in North West England to improve coverage north of Preston: Writing e-mails complaining about coverage is less likely to be effective than writing a letter– in which you tell BBC North West that you are shopping around to find a more geographic- appropriate Regional TV News service like That’s TV Lancashire (Freeview Channel 7 at 6.pm) and- to get the news north of you- ITV1 News Border Lookaround via their website. Lookaround had no less than six news- features about Cumbria last night, and you can catch up from their website two to 24 hours after the programme airs- from here https://www.itv.com/news/border). You post your letter with a first-class stamp to: BBC North West Tonight, Quay House, BBC Media City UK, Salford Quays, SALFORD. M50 2QH. Letters are more likely to be noticed than an e-mail. Producers at BBC1 North West and ITV1 Granada Reports would also be much more alarmed at the prospect of losing viewers to competition, even though ITV1 News Border is also ITV.Plc- if you have to watch the programme over the Internet ITV.Plc will lose revenue so that is likely to concentrate minds at ITV1 Granada!