25th March 2023
Both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports struggled to get anywhere north of Preston this last week, although BBC1 North West Tonight did mention school-children in Milnthorpe preparing for King Charles III coronation, though the school-children at the Liverpool school still got the lions share of coverage. The weather-forecaster did last night (Friday 24th March) show a picture taken of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in last night’s North West Tonight but this seemed to be the sum total of the Cumbrian coverage- and North Lancastrian coverage too!
As has often been the case for some weeks, the trial of the man accused of killing nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel from Liverpool, the ongoing inquest into the Manchester Arena bombings and the trial of nurse Lucy Letby, who worked at the Countess of Chester hospital and who is accused of killing new-born babies under her care- have often dominated the news-coverage from both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports over recent weeks. The Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool has also scarcely been out of the Mainstream North West England Regional TV headlines recently. There has been additional coverage of teenagers killed in car-crashes in Cheshire, a woman arrested for murder after a man died in Bootle (Merseyside) and a teenager arrested after a man suffered from life-threatening knife injuries in Worsley, Greater Manchester.
Of course, this is not to diminish the seriousness of all these tragic happenings. Each time someone is killed on the rough streets of the big cities the families affected are torn apart: Each of those new mums were devastated to learn of the deaths of those precious babies that they gave birth to- and who now seek answers and honesty- in Court from the nurse who was supposed to look after their babies. However, it is not just folk in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire who need to be informed of important developments in their midst. Viewers in Lancashire and South Cumbria also watch the mainstream North West Regional TV, and they want to know what is going on locally, as do folk who live on the Isle of Man who are forced to contend with “local news” that is 95% about another country.
Viewers of Regional TV who live in Cumbria, who can watch ITV Border’s Lookaround, got much more local news-coverage. This week, there has been extensive coverage of flooding in South Cumbria- including around Morecambe Bay and coverage of Penrith as a nice place to live in the context of other places in North West England. A man jailed for a Barrow-in-Furness knife attack, a Workington man sentenced for a sexual assault, bird-flu restrictions being eased in the Eden Valley, and the untimely death of a 27-year-old Maryport footballer were also covered, along with much other Cumbrian news besides which was also covered on ITV1 Border Lookaround.
It is clear that ITV1 Border’s Lookaround– which has North West England- serving United Utilities sponsoring the programme’s Weather-forecast and which clearly identifies Cumbria as part of North West England in coverage- is much more suitable for viewers who live in South Cumbria since the local area is covered a lot better than in ITV1 Granada Reports. And it is certain that Carnforth and Morecambe get better local coverage from ITV1 Border rather than ITV1 Granada, especially when the former touches on Morecambe Bay and mentions Morecambe Bay NHS Trust on occasion- whilst covering well South Cumbria (to which North Lancastrians have a stronger natural affinity to than to Greater Manchester and Merseyside). From Lancaster it is considerably quicker to travel by road or on the train to Carlisle than to either Manchester or Liverpool. I would also venture to suggest, in view of the violent crime in Manchester and Liverpool, that less-polluted Carlisle is a nicer city to visit for a North Lancastrian or a South Cumbrian.
It should be clear to viewers of Regional TV who live in North Lancashire or South Cumbria that whilst there is no ideal localised Regional TV News- service focussed more on northern North West England that sticking with BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports and writing the odd e-mail requesting better coverage is not going to bring about better, more geographic-appropriate Regional TV. The fact that ITV1 Border’s Lookaround does have some coverage of southern Scotland (of places taking about as long to get to from Carnforth or Morecambe as The Wirral, South Cheshire, or the Peak District) should not put off viewers in northern North West England. This should not deter them in any way from watching Regional TV programming that has a lot more coverage of happenings within an hour’s drive of one’s community than is found from ITV1 Granada Reports or BBC1 North West Tonight.
For Lancashire news, local folk can get what they need off the LancsLive Website (details here: https://www.lancs.live/): This does have clips and covers Lancastrian happenings missed by both the mainstream North West Regional TV service- such as a mother with her young daughter finding blood stains and bed bugs in the Blackpool hotel she booked to stay in (here: https://www.lancs.live/news/lancashire-news/mum-daughter-abandon-blackpool-hotel-26535321).
Mainstream Regional TV in North West England does not effectively cater for the interests and concerns of viewers who live in the northern half of the region. This really is not going to change until a sufficient number of viewers in places like Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston, Kirkby Lonsdale, Carnforth, Garstang and Lancaster switch channels and seek alternative local news outlets to effectively boycott the mainstream North West Regional TV, putting pressure on broadcasters to make fundamental changes. This would have to be done in conjunction with writing to broadcasters and to one’s local MP to effect change.
If and when large numbers of South Cumbrians and North Lancastrians watch ITV1 Border’s Lookaround, which focusses on Cumbria and the Scottish Border, that will convey a message to Programmers for BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports that viewers who live in places like Carnforth and Grange-over-Sands want news about Cumbria, that they want Cumbrian news more than they are prepared to tolerate 80% coverage of the M62 Corridor in the hope that Lancashire might get a mention. That is what is going to- eventually- lead to North Lancastrians and South Cumbrians getting that much better, more localised news about Cumbria and Lancashire from either or both the BBC and ITV.Plc: That, of course, is the main aim of this Website. And the motivation to these broadcasters would be the threatened loss of revenue from losing viewers!
In the meantime, this Website will educate its readers and the viewers of Regional TV in northern North West England that the content of ITV1 Border’s Lookaround (at least combined with the LancsLive Website) is more all-round geographically appropriate overall than the contents of ITV1 Granada Reports for anywhere north of Preston. Northwards of Lancaster, ITV1 Border’s Lookaround alone is even more local than BBC1 North West Tonight, which tends to cover Lancashire better than ITV1 Granada Reports.
There have even been occasions when both mainstream North West Regional TV programmes have stubbornly failed to get north of the M62 Corridor- when viewers in far north-east Lancashire near the villages of Leck and Cowan Bridge (close to both the Cumbria and North Yorkshire borders) would have been better off watching BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria version) because the latter program has covered both South Cumbria and North Yorkshire- even though it is mainly targeted at a North East England audience! That much is true, and it just serves to illustrate how out-of-sync the news sometimes produced is for some of the (usually rural Northern) locations that the news is produced for! This is something that this Website will expose, with the aim of Regional TV producers being pressurised to change it: This will happen because viewers are informed of how and where they can get combinations local and Regional news-coverage that is overall more geographic-appropriate: When those viewers switch channels or seek out local news websites such as LancsLive that is when programmers based in Media City will come under pressure to make real changes for the benefit of viewers of Regional TV in northern North West England.