The Campaign for a Regional TV News-service for Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man

18th September 2022

Dear Readers

The main aims of this Website are to ensure that all viewers of Regional TV who live in Cumbria, Lancashire and the Isle of Man have much more localised and geographic-appropriate Regional TV News-coverage. For viewers in Lancashire and Cumbria that is for a North West England-flavoured Regional TV News-service that covers the 70% of the geographical area of North West England that extends north of a line from Southport to Rochdale. For the Isle of Man it is for that small nation-state to have it’s own Isle of Man TV service, which countries of similar size (like the Faroe Islands) have.

The new North West England Regional TV News-service would cover Lancashire and Cumbria, with 40% coverage devoted to Cumbria and 10% total news-coverage devoted to overlap coverage- of Greater Manchester/ Merseyside and Cheshire to the south; western West Yorkshire, western North Yorkshire and western County Durham to the east; and Northumberland/ Newcastle and southern Scotland to the north. That would provide much more localised coverage whilst recognising the changes in affiliation to major regional centres from south to north across what is a large geographical area. Locations at the edge of this largely rural area would also benefit from the overlap zone and would get good all-round local news-coverage.

For the Isle of Man, a new Isle of Man TV News-service will provide news just about the Isle of Man for Manx viewers, with occasional coverage of other locations only insofar as it relates to the Isle of Man (i.e., a dock strike at Heysham port or a storm in the Irish Sea that could affect fishing boats).

This is what the Isle of Man and Cumbria/ Lancashire need: Local communities informed about important happenings in their area so that people can make informed decisions in real time. Of course northern and central Cumbria have ITV Border Lookaround that covers Cumbria very well, but none of the rest of this large area enjoys the high degree of localised coverage that they need from either BBC North West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports. And the BBC does not serve northern Cumbria very well with its Regional TV broadcast from Newcastle-upon-Tyne providing over 80% news about North East England!


The methods of achieving better Regional TV for the two million folk who live in Lancashire, Cumbria and on the Isle of Man will mainly involve this Website raising awareness of the issues around Regional TV coverage for the northern two-thirds of England and on the Isle of Man. This Website will then provide folk with the means to challenge their Regional TV News-providers which serve their communities and to follow that up with communication to their Constituency MPs should the main North West Regional TV News- services not respond favourably to viewers’ requirements.

Once this Website has a following of over five-hundred followers, a critical mass that means Regional TV News-producers take notice once that number of folk are writing in and complaining to their MPs about the lack of Regional TV News-coverage getting North of Preston, then it will be possible to proceed further. Putting further real pressure on the producers of programmes such as BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports will require other tactics that only a high number of followers and campaigners could really produce: These include the following:

  1. Writing in en-masse urging programmers at ITV Border’s Lookaround to switch North Lancashire and all South Cumbria out of the ITV Granada Region to the ITV Border Region on the grounds that “Lancaster, Morecambe, Garstang, Millom, Ulverston, etc., have more affiliation with Cumbria and the Lake District than to Greater Manchester and Merseyside and the Scottish Border is closer than South Cheshire!”
  2. Organising day protests to go down to Media City to demand “We don’t want mostly Manchester and Liverpool news, we want Lancashire and Cumbria news!”
  3. For the Isle of Man, a mass writing to the Manx Parliament and the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man urging the Manx Government to put aside funds enabling a Manx-only TV News service to be set up, run and then made self-financing as a Community enterprise.
  4. Seeking out, and encouraging others to seek out on a grand scale local TV News-services like That’s TV Lancashire and That’s TV Cumbria (available on Freeview Channels 7 and 8 respectively). These are not widely and easily available in North Lancashire and South Cumbria so this Website will encourage folk to write to these That’s TV Local services so that both That’s TV Lancashire and That’s TV Cumbria are both available between Preston and Kendal. This is to enable viewers to easily boycott the mainstream North West Regional TV News-services and find something more local and geographic-appropriate.
  5. Politically, through uniting with Regional Party figures to ensure that Regional TV receives a higher proportion of GDP in proportion to it’s Local and Regional Public Service in informing and warning local communities about important developments on Television in real time, so that folk can make informed decisions. Although the author of this Website is no socialist, it is noted that it is quite likely that parties of the Left are more sympathetic to the argument for higher Public spending on Regional TV (even though this is not something that should be funded out of taxation). This is something for which there must be political pressure for, to forestall the real possibility that (with Recession combined with high Inflation looking imminent in September 2022) both the BBC and ITV.Plc will look to cut Regional News budgets in future to save money!

The aim of all these measures is not only put direct pressure on the North West Regional TV News- services to cover the northern 70% of geographical North West England and the Isle of Man better through complaints procedures, pressure from local MPs etc., but to weaken the stranglehold that both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports have. Almost seven million potential viewers in North West England- from Crewe up to South Cumbria- believe that these are the best Regional TV News-services on offer. Viewers in Lancashire may be unaware of the existence of That’s TV Lancashire (Freeview Channel 7, week-days at Viewers in North Lancashire may not believe that they can get ITV Border Lookaround and, thinking it provides mainly Scottish news, would never realise it largely covers Cumbria and that there’s a lot of coverage of locations just north of them that they would never get from BBC North West Tonight or ITV Granada Reports.

If large numbers of viewers know that other local TV news-services exist, or that a combination of Local/ adjacent Regional TV News-services provides better all-round local news-coverage for their communities, that weakens the monopoly that BBC North West and ITV Granada have on those viewers. If the mainstream North West Regional TV News-producers then find out that large numbers of their more northern viewers have other places to go- that will greatly increase the pressure on them to provide opt-outs- or even new BBC North West and BBC Isle of Man TV Regions. The fear of losing large numbers of viewers to competition (and potentially losing revenue in the process) is a strong motivator! That is, ultimately, how the objective of much better- and more localised- Regional TV News for Lancashire, Cumbria and also the Isle of Man will be achieved.

In order to get the Campaign followers, it will be necessary to gain greater publicity for this Campaign across northern North West England and on the Isle of Man. Advertising will play a part, but once a significant number of followers has been obtained they will be encouraged to spread the word by word of mouth. Other options, such as Crowdfunding and using platforms such as 38 degrees will be looked into- to raise more finance to advertise the Campaign.

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.

6 thoughts on “The Campaign for a Regional TV News-service for Lancashire, Cumbria and the Isle of Man

  1. Yes mass writing to the Manx Parliament and the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man urging the Manx Government to put aside funds enabling a Manx-only TV News service to be set up, run and then made self-financing as a Community enterprise is good

    as some on isle of man side do have some like that but only for radio do kown manx radio get funds form the Manx Government every yaer and is separate form Manx Gov also get money form ads play on radio but own by Manx Governmen.

    what we need do in isle of man push that Manx Government update manx radio in to not just radio also have a isle of man tv channle onlian air so have manx radio and manx tv as one

    1. I totally agree. The Manx Government should set aside funds to set up a Manx TV service. Have you considered writing to the Chief Minister, Alfred Cannan to request this because it is a disgrace that the Isle of Man does not have its own TV service when smaller countries, like the Faroe Islands, do. National TV news for a country with news about that country is a vital Public service and should have money spent on it like libraries, schools, police, etc.

      NorthWest Is NorthWest

  2. talking about Organising day protests to go down to Media City to demand “We don’t want mostly Manchester and Liverpool news, for we want Lancashire and Cumbria news!

    think mybe also one for isle of man too as one of bbc HQ in uk also think good if do try get Organising day protests to see get one in isle of man to have protests

    team at Media City and protests and one outside broadcast house Douglas baces of so call isle of man bbc team and also mybe one outside isle of man Parliament if on at same say we like isle of man news on bbc too ( if tusday be good day to do outside isle of man Parliament as day most of sit of isle of man Parliament are done on )

  3. i have writing too lot of MHk Even the chef mister and it 50/50 some say go do something and some not but then ween get arond it there not do anything about it as still less pople on them about this then other big problems of the isle of man

    think try agin but think time take Campaign more like protests at both of bbc HQ in area a protests at Media City like you say in post also one in isle of man at broadcast house Douglas home of Mnax radio and BBC isle of man office have roam in ther go to demand for isle of man bbc or one at tynwald demand for isle of man tv if bbc not do then manx gov need come in

    alos think time Campaign go on to Social Media Platform like still have page but also put on Facebook and Twiter and instgrm am not sure this Campaign have them yet ?

    if not think time get on Social Media if you also it up to you but it time work togther you for uk side of Campaign and i for isle of man Campaign side more working togther more thing get done

    1. You will certainly need to write to the Chief Minister to ensure that the Isle of Man gets its own TV News-service. However, just writing alone will have little effect so get local friends and family to do the same. Certainly, social media can be helpful if you have a large following of friends and they mostly live on the Isle of Man- that will be useful in trying to organise rallies/ protests.

      I have used geographically-targeted low-cost advertising route to raise awareness of this Campaign. It is also possible to advertise on Social Media. With a budget of just £50 it is possible to reach quite a lot of people, though I do not have a presence on Facebook or Twitter myself. If you live in or near a town you can also try leaflet distribution to raise awareness of your efforts to coordinate writing to the Chief Minister to pay for setting up a Manx TV News-service. Again, this can be low-cost.

      NorthWest Is NorthWest

  4. ture not do by one perosn evey weeks / month number go up and up also post a post is free onlian ok ads are not even i help get Campaign out on Social Media if like help on the Social Media side ?

    like i on isle of man onlian way i got pepole by psot about it and on to bbc go lol even some of bbc team even folow us on Twitter also be emill manx gov

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