At last, both BBC North West and ITV1 Granada Reports cover Cumbria- but neither mention the M6 being shut by a lorry fire in South Cumbria.

28th October 2021


Dear Readers

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.

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.

2 thoughts on “At last, both BBC North West and ITV1 Granada Reports cover Cumbria- but neither mention the M6 being shut by a lorry fire in South Cumbria.

  1. And still not covering Isle of Man that still need it own bbc output news and sport and Politics Broadcasting from the island every day of week also live tynwald on bbc and Saturday live sport updates as Isle of Man has own sports teams even nice get fc Isle of Man team live home match on tv

  2. Please can someone explain what would happen after future electric outages, once we all have electric cars?

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