A New Year- and is ITV Granada Reports starting to cover Cumbria again?

11th January 2023

Dear Readers

The New Year, 2023 starts with some signs of promise from our Regional TV broadcast media in North West England, with signs that both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports are actually covering all of North West England better. However, one always has to be a bit wary of such promising developments, as these have happened before only to be followed by weeks with a moratorium on any coverage North of Preston!

This evening, I watched both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports and I was pleasantly surprised that this evening’s news- bulletins from both the mainstream North West England Regional TV News- providers covered northern parts of North West England. BBC1 North West Tonight covered South Cumbria, along with Lancashire in connection with the one-day strike by North West Ambulance Service and there was also a report on the outbreak of bird flu at the chicken factory at Langwathby, near Penrith in the Eden Valley: Langwathby is some 25 miles north of the northward limit of BBC North West’s transmission area and it is, of course, encouraging to note that news-programmers at BBC North West are reporting on happenings in more northerly parts of Cumbria for the benefit of their South Cumbrian viewers. There was also a news-report on a teachers’ strike on the Isle of Man and the provision of specialist teachers for deaf children- featuring a family from Burnley on BBC1 North West Tonight. One felt that the entirety of geographical North West England- from the Scottish Border to Cheshire was covered.

However, it was in viewing ITV1 Granada Reports that one got a pleasant surprise for a change, because the programme not only covered the Isle of Man teacher’s strike in quite some detail but it also had a feature on poverty and the need for folk to turn to food banks in the South Lakes- and Kendal and Windermere both got a mention. Alas, that was the only coverage that got North of the M62 corridor on ITV1 Granada Reports, but it is noteable that the programme covered Cumbria. That’s not all, because since Christmas ITV1 Granada Reports has also covered the fall-out- in Barrow-in-Furness- from a woman who lived in the South Cumbrian town who made false allegations of rape. The programme has also covered ill- prepared folk needing rescuing from the Lake District fells. This is after ITV Granada Reports had barely mentioned Cumbria in news-coverage since the summer!

It is possible that programmers for both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports have had feedback from their most northerly viewers who got a bit fed up with the Greater Manchester/ Merseyside- dominated news-coverage: South Cumbrian and even North Lancastrian viewers may have threatened to switch over to ITV1 Border’s Lookaround to get more Cumbrian news- and telling broadcasters that this is what they will do- unless they got North of Preston a bit more! If something like this has happened and word got around, then all well and good, because good local and Regional TV news-coverage for a viewer in Carnforth will be different to what is good local and Regional TV news-coverage for a viewer in Crosby on Merseyside! It is time viewers in the northern 65% of geographical North West England and indeed on the Isle of Man received local and regional news-programming that is fit for those areas.

However, we have been here before when there has been a week of promise, with daily news-reports about Cumbria and also northern Lancashire on BBC1 North West Tonight, which has been followed by two or more weeks with nothing about places north of Preston. Occasions when ITV1 Granada Reports covers any part of Cumbria remain very rare despite the reports about Cumbria in recent days. It is too soon to celebrate and put out the bunting yet: If there is to be a permanent long-term change towards much-improved Regional News-coverage for viewers in northern Lancashire and South Cumbria it will have to be fought for. If the North Cumbrian campaign to get BBC1 Look North (from Newcastle) back after the BBC put North Cumbria in the BBC1 North West (Manchester) transmission area in the 1980’s is anything to go by it might take five years of campaigning, with letters to local newspapers, letters to local MPs and rallies outside Media City to get either BBC1 North West Tonight or ITV1 Granada Reports to commit resources to really improving Regional TV for northern North West England and the Isle of Man. From my own experiences, and those of others who have written in to the North West Regional TV News- services in the past, it will take a lot more than a few e-mails and letters to bring about real and lasting change!

Almost one million people live in Lancashire north of the River Ribble and in South Cumbria: For this sizeable geographic area geographically local and relevant news is that about Lancashire and Cumbria with some news about the western Yorkshire Dales, it would be much less Greater Manchester and Merseyside. For the almost 85,000 souls living on the Isle of Man, geographically local and relevant news will be about the Isle of Man- nowhere else. Viewers in South Cumbria, northern Lancashire and on the Isle of Man are a long way from getting news tailored to their areas: Indeed, in an era when the BBC has just axed two BBC1 Regional News-services in the southern half of the country on cost grounds- it is likely to be necessary for big political pressure with legislation passed to define good local and Regional TV as a Public Service with mandatory minimum levels of funding and air-time provision per 1,000 square miles- before the BBC management consider reinstating the axed BBC1 TV Regions in the South of England, let alone creating new BBC1 Regions for Lancashire/ Cumbria and for the Isle of Man!

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.

One thought on “A New Year- and is ITV Granada Reports starting to cover Cumbria again?

  1. Happy new yaer from Isle of Man tv watch .

    A new year & nothing new still lack of Isle of Man on bbc & bbc news on tv.

    There all ready be big news story in Isle of Man that big in Isle of Man but not one bit of this new story big us not one them put on bbc tv or so call bbc north west that do nothing for Isle of Man.

    Let hope that we in 2023 we can push for bbc do more for Isle of Man get full bbc news output for Isle of msn made on island.

    now that bbc cut two news region output bbc should have money do a bbc Isle of Man for us living on Isle of Man.

    Be host it should be Uk / Iom / CL law that bbc has have to have local tv and radio services broadcasting from all countries, that pay the bbc license fee .

    Also I hope for you guys that you get one to like bbc Columbia & Lancaster.

    But it’s wrong country like the Isle of Man has not have one bbc tv or radio service, think really important that we this year push for a bbc Isle of Man or for own Isle of Man tv channel

    It’s so wrong that the BBC be get away this long.

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