Close to the Lancashire/ Cumbria boundary viewers want Local News about Cumbria and Lancashire.

14th August 2022

Dear Readers

Much of the Regional TV News-coverage on BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports during this last week of hot weather has focussed on strikes affecting rail and bus travel, the trial of former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs (who is accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend), and various other happenings mainly occurring in and around Manchester and Liverpool. One look at ITV Granada Reports’ website (here: shows that, aside from their section on the Isle of Man, coverage is 80% along the M62 Corridor from Liverpool to the eastern side of Manchester. You will be extremely hard-pressed to find a report about Cumbria, which suggests that they rarely cover the county in their bulletins.

BBC North West Tonight covers areas to the north of Wigan somewhat better, there were five news-items about Cumbria in the last week. One of these was about a BBC presenter, Helen Skelton who happened to be from Cumbria appearing on Strictly Come Dancing (hardly something that most Cumbrians would be that interested in anyway). There was also coverage of the proposed coal-mine near Whitehaven being knocked back again and a zip-wire planned near Elterwater, not far from Ambleside. However, even on BBC North West Tonight there are several periods of up to a week during the year when coverage does not get north of Preston.

However, as a rule, it continues to be the case that coverage from both mainstream North West England Regional TV News-providers coverage is heavily concentrated on the 35% of the geographical English North West that extends south of Preston. Furthermore, the Isle of Man- despite having a dedicated little section on the ITV Granada Reports’ Website- accounts for barely 5% of the total coverage on ITV1 Granada Reports. BBC North West Tonight covers the Isle of Man a little better, but not much so.

It is very clear that once you get as far north as the Cumbria-Lancashire boundary there is a considerable disconnect between the locations and the issues that people there are interested in and the output that the programmers and news-editors, both from BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports, think the viewers want. Viewers who live close to the Lancashire- Cumbria border want a North West Regional News- service that reflects their surroundings and their concerns: Since almost one million people live in that part of North West England that extends north of Preston it is actually quite dismal that not only neither the BBC nor ITV.Plc has put resources into providing more geographic-appropriate coverage for this large area of North West England, but also that none of the Regional or national governments have made either the BBC or ITV.Plc provide better local News-services for a million people living in Cumbria, northern Lancashire or on the Isle of Man!

It is, of course, true that northern and central Cumbrians get ITV Border Lookaround which covers Cumbria very well, but with a Conservative Government and many major organisations (like ITV.Plc) facing major cost- pressures at this time of Stagflation there is no absolute guarantees that ITV Border Lookaround remains completely safe: I put that on record, so that ITV.Plc and the BBC knows that there are those (like this Website) watching them like a hawk should any cuts to Regional TV for Cumbria or other parts of North West England be so much as mooted! This Website will fight for Cumbrians and others in the northern North West of England to have (or to continue to have) access to good local and geographic-appropriate Regional TV News for their communities.

However, many places close to the Cumbria- Lancashire boundary cannot easily get ITV Border Lookaround. The disconnect between what ITV Granada Reports and BBC North West Tonight produce and what viewers want is particularly acute for those living close to where the borders of Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire meet, and sandwiched between the upper stretches of the River Ribble (which rises at Ribblehead in western North Yorkshire) and the River Lune live some 30,000 people who live in towns and villages like Settle, Ingleton, Kirkby Lonsdale, Sedbergh, Slaidburn, Caton and Hornby. Although Sedbergh gets ITV Border Lookaround, the remainder have the default choice between ITV Granada Reports and BBC North West Tonight, the output from which cannot be said to be geographic-appropriate to this entire area.

There is something fundamentally wrong about Regional TV in northern England whereby folk living in the western Yorkshire Dales close to the Cumbrian border are forced to accept Regional TV News that is mainly about Greater Manchester, Merseyside with some news about south Lancashire thrown in. It is certainly worth considering whether locations like Ingleton and Settle, which are arguably not in North West England because they are in North Yorkshire, would be better-served by different ITV and BBC Regions. For those areas, the combination of ITV Border Lookaround and BBC Look North (NE/Cumbria) would be more appropriate, as the former covers Cumbria very well- along with rural issues which are more in-keeping with those faced in the western Yorkshire Dales and BBC Look North (NE/Cumbria) has about 15% coverage of Cumbria and 15% coverage of North Yorkshire. The Yorkshire Regional TV News-programmes, ITV News Calendar (Northern version) and BBC Look North (Leeds version) both have 85% coverage of urban West and South Yorkshire with some of North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire- almost as irrelevant as Manchester-Merseyside dominated coverage.

For viewers with Sky TV, BBC Look North (NE/Cumbria) can be found on Sky Channel 975, and in some areas of the upper Lune Valley and western Yorkshire Dales, a clear view north-west and a tall aerial pointed in that direction would enable receipt of ITV Border Lookaround. A little further south, around Settle and westwards towards Guisburn and Slaidburn (near the Lancashire-North Yorkshire border) it is not possible to pick up ITV Border Lookaround on your TV directly. However, the day’s bulletin can be seen from the ITV Border Website from about two hours after the programme is aired live (i.e., about 8.30 pm and the ITV Border Website is here:

Of course, neither BBC Look North (NE/Cumbria) or ITV Border Lookaround are ideal for the western Yorkshire Dales close to the border with Lancashire and Cumbria, but one will get more news that is topically or geographically relevant than from either the mainstream North West Regional TV News-services that are transmitted to this area. BBC Look North (NE/Cumbria) cover both North Yorkshire and Cumbria in their bulletins, though some 70% of the news-coverage will be about North East England and you would not get to hear anything about northern Lancashire. ITV Border Lookaround is very rural-focussed and will cover issues related to farming and tourism that also pertain to the western Yorkshire Dales and nearby Cumbria is covered very well. Indeed, ITV Border Lookaround has even featured the western Yorkshire Dales on occasion, such as the fatal light helecopter crash near High Bentham that occurred this summer. However, as a rule, ITV Border Lookaround does not cover North Yorkshire or northern Lancashire.

For extensive areas of northern North West England and eastwards into North Yorkshire the one-size-fits-all approach to Regional TV (as produced by the BBC and ITV.Plc) with sharp transmission borders and TV Regions serving large geographical areas with populations of five million or more leave much to be desired. If folk are technologically-savvy and have Sky TV and Internet they can shop around for Regional TV News-services that better serve their areas, but as I have made clear the Regional TV News-services that are found are still not ideal. Also, with a cost-of-living crisis fewer people living in northern rural areas can afford Sky TV, and a good number of elderly folk still do not have Internet, so they have to contend with default Regional TV News-services that are even worse for geographically and topically-appropriate news-coverage.

The real solution for viewers of Regional TV who live in South Cumbria, northern Lancashire and the western Yorkshire Dales is for the Government to get involved to make sure that all viewers of Regional TV are in the transmission area of a TV Region that provides geographically- appropriate all-round local news-coverage. The Government should certainly consider requiring the BBC, for instance, to spend a higher share of it’s revenue on providing Regional and Local News and to increase the number of TV Regions so that northern North West England and the Isle of Man has its own version of BBC North West Tonight and all of North Yorkshire is in a BBC Region of its own. In the meantime, pressure can be bought to bear on Regional TV producers by sending them an e-mail explaining that the local news-coverage is largely irrelevant to where you live. Then, when the reply is such as to indicate that nothing much will be done about it (because of cost and the five million folk who live in Greater Manchester and Merseyside) you e-mail the Regional TV producers again to explain that you want more geographically-relevant news-coverage and that if this is not met you will be shopping around for a Regional TV News-service that does provide more local news.

If you live in westernmost North Yorkshire you could go further than this, and tell Regional TV producers that you would be better served by being in the BBC1 North East/ Cumbria transmission Region and ITV1 News Border Region and you could write to BBC1 Look North (NE/Cumbria) and ITV1 News Border Lookaround to request that your area is transferred to their transmission region. In South Cumbria and northern Lancashire there is also a strong case for communities to be transferred from the ITV1 Granada to the ITV1 News Border transmission Region but to stay in the BBC1 North West region on the grounds of a stronger local affiliation with Cumbria than to Manchester and Liverpool.

Email contact details for all the ITV and BBC Regions mentioned in this article are as follows:

BBC1 North West Tonight:

ITV1 Granada Reports:

ITV1 News Border (Presenters: Amy Lea and Ian Payne):

BBC1 Look North (NE/Cumbria):

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.

3 thoughts on “Close to the Lancashire/ Cumbria boundary viewers want Local News about Cumbria and Lancashire.

  1. i be on to bbc north west there still not do anything i email and i twitter tag them there still not covring lot isle of man news on bbc like lot of isle of man news still not got on to bbc like lot saying go stop paying bbc now beuces how bad are and lot on them like get ponit bbc go have do something soon there day are number

    ( and yes it time isle of man have own news out put on bbc to )

    with itv there some day thers nothing but bit hard get do anything keep on them like isle of man itv reporter do a beter job try get isle of man news but as he own up cup time has make story look good for uk not isle of man frist even get on to isle of man i keep on them but hard as there independent Media

    ( time isle of man itv a thing or culd do what sctland has stv we culd have MITV = Mnax independent television with own shows and shows form itv and stv and utv )

    isle of man tv on youtube do good job all yaer like allways do/

    new lot call isle of red tv start do stuff on there youtbe and social media

    manx radio and engey fm did really good coverage of Commonwealth Games radio shows radio news updates and proper videos show the Isle of Man team interviews on YouTube and on there social media done beter job on isle of man at Commonwealth Games 2022 then bbc

    isle of man update what go on form isle of man friand BBC Isle Of Man As A TV Channel

    1. Good evening. I totally agree with your point about the Isle of Man. It is completely appalling that Manx viewers get “Local” news from BBC North West Tonight or from ITV Granada Reports that is 95% about another country! The new Manx Government should find the funds to help set up a bespoke Manx TV News service.

      Ian Pennell

      (Proprietor, NorthWest Is NorthWest)

  2. Yes it is really bad what isle of man get off the bbc and itv that is 95% about another country.

    and go have lol had one of BBC North West Tonight Roger Johnson have go at me on twiter
    was for, me say them about them not do news on isle of man what fun is day after was news there but news was weeks / days old news .

    on manx gov yes i hope they do some have talk with the bbc and itv get them to do more

    but I totally agree with to help find the funds to help set up a bespoke Manx TV News service. but in way that arm’s-length away from the government so it is independent no manx gov stop news

    but is Frist Parliament year of The new Manx Government say be lot have to fix form last manx gov and with new MHk ( iom mps ) some them be find had as new mhk but has be bunch that agree some need be done with the bbc service to isle of man

    so i hope in October the 2nd year of tynwlad out of 5 years of this new Manx Government some get done yes be cup new thing but nothing big yet

    lhas not even be the isle of man Public bordcast review yet like post be done every 5 yaers hope be done soon be done as go lol last time was done bbc haeds was summons to the Isle of man tlak to tynwlad there say was go to look in to sort out and was talk of a onlian or tv bbc output test have look in to also talk of bbc and manx radio work as toghter big gurp with bbc and this in tynwald Court but nothing has has hapen

    only thing was sort was over 75 free tv licence step now the Isle of Man having the pay some of it as 1/2 of over 75 get pay by bbc and 1/2 by isle of man gov

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