Neither BBC North West Tonight nor ITV1 Granada Reports cover Northern Lancashire well

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: 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: 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:

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: 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: 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.

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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