One Big Liverpool-fest on BBC1 North West Tonight, ditto ITV1 Granada Reports.

31st January 2023

Dear Readers

A few weeks ago this Website featured an article congratulating BBC1 North West Tonight for showing signs of covering all of North West England, including into northern Cumbria. This article made the point that this would be great if this signified a long- term improvement in news-coverage for locations northwards of Preston, but added the caveat that there have been such “false dawns” before. That is, there has been a few days with a news-item about Cumbria each night, along with a good few about Lancashire, but that then has followed two or three weeks with almost no news-coverage northwards of Preston (read this here:

And so it has proved again! Over the last few days the most northerly item of coverage on both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports has been about a missing woman from St. Michaels on Wyre, a picturesue village on the River Wyre about five miles south-west of Garstang and eleven miles east of Blackpool. In other words, the Regional TV news has not got much north of Preston! At least both Regional TV News- services have- just- ventured into northern Lancashire but that was the most northerly news-item by thirty miles on both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports.

It is good that both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports have reported on the fear and possible loss affecting this small rural northern Lancashire community and, for a rare change, it was ITV1 Granada Reports that provided the best coverage of this rather worried community this evening. Tonight (31st January) Roger Johnson, the BBC1 North West Tonight main reporter was this evening decamped to the Liverpool Euro-vision festival and BBC1 North West Tonight was 50% about that, and a further 15% about the ongoing Hillsborough inquests (which involved Liverpool Football Club from way back in 1989). One suspects that, notwithstanding the good coverage of the missing local dog-walker, that the good folk of St. Michaels on Wyre are rather peeved off with the lack of coverage of happenings locally and to the north of where they live whilst Liverpool and Manchester (an hour away or slightly more by car) get the lion’s share of news-coverage.

We have been here before: A long-term improvement in North West Regional TV, either of BBC1 North West Tonight or ITV1 Granada Reports, for viewers in northern Lancashire and South Cumbria would mean more than a few days with a couple of nightly reports about Cumbria- especially when this is followed with no coverage of Cumbria and one news-item (if viewers are lucky) getting North of the River Ribble. There needs to be a concerted recognition that almost one million inhabitants who live in northern Lancashire and South Cumbria, over fifty miles north of Liverpool need better, tailor-made Regional TV coverage for their communities. That will involve an effort to include nightly coverage of Cumbria and northern Lancashire, or the putting of resources into opt-outs for northern North West England.

Unfortunately, this will never ever happen whilst Barrow-in-Furness, Carnforth, Ulverston, Garstang, Fleetwood and (yes) as far south as St. Michaels on Wyre are getting the same Regional TV programming as over five million potential viewers in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region from both BBC1 and ITV1. The reason for that is that viewers in Cheshire, in South Manchester and Liverpool will start to complain if their areas are not covered well, letters and e-mails would certainly go in and, because most viewers live in the populous south of North West England Regional TV producers will be under pressure to maintain the lion’s share of coverage for the metropolitan areas. That said, folk living in towns just a bit further north (like Wigan and Bolton) would reasonably expect North West Regional TV to cover more than just Manchester, Liverpool and the Wirral and to include the Lakes (which folk from there may visit on a fine day) in news-coverage.

As has been mentioned before on this Website, the only way viewers of Regional TV who live in St. Michael’s on Wyre, Garstang, Morecambe, Carnforth or Kirkby Lonsdale are going to get much more Cumbrian and North Lancastrian news night after night is for folk living in those areas to campaign -to be moved from a TV Region that has seven million inhabitants that really does not include most of Cumbria into a TV Region that would have just 1.5 million inhabitants (with northern Lancashire added) and which also covers all of Cumbria (and in which Cumbria accounts for 50 to 55% coverage without North Lancashire). A strong vocal campaign for North Lancashire to be transferred from the ITV1 Granada transmission region to the ITV1 Border transmission region on the grounds that “We live in North West England but North Lancashire and coastal South Cumbria has stronger links to the Lakes than to Liverpool and Manchester: Change Our Regional News!” is just what is needed!

Viewers in North Lancashire need to hold that line in the face of warnings of “But you will get News about Scotland!” from North West Regional TV Programmers who might try to discourage viewers and persuade them to stick with the service that they know (however poor): The truth is ITV1 Border’s Lookaround has no more than about 45% coverage about (mainly south-west) Scotland, and of places that are just over the Scottish Border, in communities that are no less local (in terms of travel-time) to Morecambe or Carnforth than is the Isle of Man, the Peak District or South Cheshire that get covered in ITV1 Granada Reports. What North Lancastrian viewers would gain is more than what they would lose, and this Website will continue to educate North Lancastrians of the relative localness- to them- of what is reported on ITV1 Border compared to ITV1 Granada. Then they can speak up and campaign for change without fear of the overall implications of that change! Viewers of Regional TV such realise that they have nothing to fear but fear itself, and to realise that Regional TV providers provide the service they do to communities because they think that they can get away with it.

It is only when ITV1, and BBC1 for that matter are faced with a myriad folk campaigning for their Regional TV to change, to be put in another TV Region that might serve their area better that programmers for ITV1 Granada Reports are really going to take note: They will understand that viewers from north of Preston are really not happy with the North West England Regional TV coverage that they receive, and the motivation will be the potential loss of advertising revenue from losing viewers. There is no reason why programmers at BBC1 North West Tonight should not also be made abreast of such a campaign, and for viewers to write in to explain why they are campaigning to get ITV1 Border’s Lookaround rather than ITV1 Granada Reports.

Unfortunately, as shown from the news-coverage from this past week, and other weeks following a few days’ Cumbrian promise (and there have been numerous of these); if folk in Lancaster, Morecambe, St Michael’s on Wyre, Garstang, Fleetwood and Barrow-in-Furness are to get much better geographic-appropriate North West Regional TV News are to get better, more localised, Regional TV they need to fight hard for it. But it can be done- just ask viewers in Carlisle, in North Cumbria- who fought against getting Manchester-dominated news from BBC1 North West Tonight for five years before they got BBC1 Look North from Newcastle back. They deployed a similar powerful argument, i.e.- “North Cumbria has more links with Newcastle and Northumberland- which is Much Closer than Manchester! Change Our News!“. That, and with thousands of campaigning North Cumbrian’s the BBC finally caved in 1991- and North Cumbria got BBC1 Look North from Newcastle-upon-Tyne back.

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 “One Big Liverpool-fest on BBC1 North West Tonight, ditto ITV1 Granada Reports.

  1. Hello Mate be Hole Frist Month of yaer lot big news , sport & politics on isle of man on local media this month but sadly be miss on bbc yep bbc north west not be covering big isle of man story lot days 30mins of Liverpool or manhater news but nothing on isle of man .

    it time isle of man has its own bbc news isle of man tv news output like rest locla tv

    like tonight all about liverpool and about event that isle of man not even do has no team in

    so wrong that all uk news ween isle of man not uk there watch all uk news bescues bbc not do anything on isle of man we relly need try push in 2023 that there bbc isle of man news

    1. I totally agree. There has been virtually nothing about the Isle of Man- a country in it’s own right- for days. Certainly you will need to write to Chief Minister Hon Alfred Cannan at this address:
      Office of the Chief Minister, Third Floor, Government Office, Bucks Road, DOUGLAS. IM1 3PN- write, rather than e-mail (since e-mails usually get intercepted by secretaries or put in Spam boxes) to demand that the Isle of Man has it’s own proper TV service, as even the Faeroe Islands (with half the population) does. Demand that the Government finds money, at least in the short-term, to set this up.

      In the meantime, an effective strategy would be to just watch the You-Tube based Isle of Man TV (details here: and encourage your friends and family to do the same. At the same time write to BBC1 North West Tonight- at and ITV1 Granada Reports- at to explain why you are boycotting their programming to watch Isle of Man TV. Explain that that is because folk who live on the Isle of Man, a country in its own right, want news about the Isle of Man, that you do not Manchester, Liverpool or Lancashire news -which are in England- and to be insulted by being told that is your local news. Get your friends and family to do the same because if both the BBC and ITV Programmers see their viewing figures from the Isle of Man drop at the time the Regional News comes on they will be prompted to do something about it. If either BBC1 North West or ITV1 Granada at least provide an opt-out for the Isle of Man that would be a good result.

      Kind regards

      Ian Pennell
      (Proprietor, NorthWest Is NorthWest)

    2. Yep so bad not be much Isle of Man on bbc / itv.

      also not sure remember try that that and email my chief minister he come back saying manx government at this point not do anything as they spend lot money on manx radio then agin keep trying sand all 24 MHk & 11 MLC then agin isle of man budget this month

      The Isle of Man tv guy not put up anything new up rumors going around that the guy that steering it is a on holiday or another a rumor going around
      he might be retiring on next cup yaer.

      Think might time take to bbc / itv keep try

      Also try got more people sand message in to there MHK & to BBC / ITV

      But just had an Idea if no them go do something soon about lack tv for Isle of Man and for you in Cambria & Lancaster mybe might time people like us start fund raising for us get a local channel 7 channel for Cambria & Lancaster and one for Isle of Man kown channel with local show and local news obviously with adverse pay for it

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