21st December 2022
This evening, Wednesday 21st December 2022 I watched BBC1 Reporting Scotland and STV News At Six (Edinburgh version). The latter is available from here: https://player.stv.tv/episode/4dup/stv-news-edinburgh and BBC1 Reporting Scotland can be found here, loaded about two or three hours after being aired live. Details are here https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mj3s. As far as folk living in the communities around Berwick-upon-Tweed and along the north-east side of the Northumberland- Scottish Borders Border north-east from the Cheviots these news- programmes provide a wealth of news about locations that are no more than an hour away from Berwick-upon-Tweed or nearby Scottish Border communities by train or by car.
For folk living in these, the most northerly communities in England by some distance, the news from BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria) and from ITV1 News Tyne Tees is scarcely local at all, it most certainly is not overall geographic- appropriate. Both North East England based Regional TV News- providers have a complete moratorium on covering anything on the Scottish side of the Scottish Border even for the benefit of far North Northumbrian viewers. Of course, local folk might point out that it is possible to get the Scottish version of ITV1 Border, though that airs the same Lookaround bulletin that viewers in Cumbria receive. Of course ITV1 Border’s Lookaround provides great local news-coverage- for folk living in Cumbria, in parts of Dumfries and Galloway close to Dumfries, Annan and bordering northern Cumbria (which is very well-covered). It is less appropriate for viewers in northern Northumberland and the north-eastern Scottish Borders where viewers would be lucky to get more than two news-features out of the ten or eleven news-items typically broadcast being about happenings within an hour’s drive of Berwick-upon-Tweed, or Duns near the Scottish Borders North Sea Coast. Were ITV Border’s Lookaround the only news- bulletin alternative to the North East – based bulletins Berwickers might be advised to stick with ITV1 News Tyne Tees, which has marginally more news about Northumberland than BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria), typically some 15% of all coverage. Other than that, and aside from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, an hour by train from Berwick-upon-Tweed (and accounting for perhaps another 10% of total coverage on ITV1 News Tyne Tees). Of the remaining 75% of coverage on ITV1 News Tyne Tees evening bulletins, none would be local to far North Northumberland.
However, whilst no more than 20% of the content of ITV1 Border’s Lookaround would provide Scottish Borders/ Northumberland news within an hour’s travel time of Berwick-upon-Tweed, if viewers watch Scottish TV (STV) flagship regional News- bulletin for Edinburgh and East Scotland- News At Six, one will find a news-bulletin that has about 50% coverage of Edinburgh, the north-east Scottish Borders and East and West Lothian. In other words, that’s half the coverage being about places that are regionally local, if not immediate local, to Berwick-upon-Tweed and North Northumberland villages like Norham right on the Scottish Border. Of course, there are rare occasions when ITV1 Border Lookaround devotes more time to coverage of the Scottish Borders, such as the other night when half the 30-minute bulletin was devoted to the funeral of Doddie Weir, a rugby legend who was raised near Melrose. But that is the exception and not the rule.
If one lives in or around Berwick-upon-Tweed it is not possible to get a signal for STV Edinburgh/ East Scotland on your TV because one is out of range of the transmission signal from the main Craigkelly transmitter (located near Kirkcaldy). However, if you have internet the Edinburgh/ Eastern Scotland Regional version of STV News At Six is loaded on to the STV Player about two hours after it is aired live (that’s about 8.pm, and it is then available for 24 hours to watch). As already mentioned, the news-programme covers Edinburgh and south-east Scotland, rather than mainly Cumbria/ south-west Scotland (as ITV1 Border’s Lookaround does), so the Edinburgh version of News At Six covers places just over the Scottish Border and within an hour’s drive of Berwick-upon-Tweed and North Northumberland rather than just over the Scottish Border from Carlisle and northern Cumbria. Coverage of places on Edinburgh’s News at Six is therefore more geographic-appropriate to Berwick-upon-Tweed and surrounding areas. To watch STV’s News At Six for Edinburgh and eastern Scotland one needs to sign up to STV Player to watch it. Then a Berwicker, watching ITV1 News Tyne Tees, then later STV News At Six (Edinburgh version) can net themselves several news-items a night about happenings within an hour’s travel- time of their home, northwards as well as south. That is, they would get several items of news about Northumberland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the Scottish Borders, East and West Lothian and the Edinburgh area. Viewers would then stand a higher chance of getting a couple of pieces of immediate local news (that is within 30 minutes’ travel time), whether that be from northern Northumberland or the eastern Scottish Borders.
If one does not have Internet, and signing up to STV Player to get the Edinburgh version of News At Six seems a bit too difficult then Berwickers can watch BBC1 Reporting Scotland. This is loaded on to BBC I-Player about two hours after it airs live (typically about 8.30 pm). As it’s name suggests, this programme covers all of Scotland so it doubles as a Scottish national news programme for Scots who can switch over to it after they have watched their more regional STV News At Six, whichever regional version that may be. However, a high proportion of coverage is of Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Scottish central belt of the Forth and Clyde valleys and of southern Scotland: Tonight (21st December 2022) was no exception during which the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, in Edinburgh featured extensively, Edinburgh featured again in relation to news about a rise in flu cases and the Sports-coverage featured Livingston Football Club: That’s three places no more (or very little more) than an hour away from Berwick-upon-Tweed by train or by car. And given the strong links between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders and North Northumberland, that is news about happenings and political developments across the Scottish Border that may well interest Berwickers. Local viewers could do worse than to watch ITV1 News Tyne Tees then BBC1 Reporting Scotland at 6.30 pm (or later on BBC I Player if they cannot get a signal for BBC1 Scotland from their aerial). The four or five news-items about happenings within an hours’ travel time of Berwick-upon-Tweed obtained this way each night is not to be sneezed at.
Of course, this is an unacceptable state of affairs for viewers of Regional TV who live in this far northern part of North East England: Berwick-upon-Tweed and the surrounding communities along the Scottish Border should be treated as a special case because, whilst this is still part of North East England, the whole area is marginally closer to Edinburgh than to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Berwickers: Far North Northumbrians need local news about their communities and adjacent towns and areas to which they might frequent to visit friends, go to work or go on days out- so that they can make informed choices with information about road conditions, severe weather, or local employment opportunities that they may encounter. Viewers here deserve a bespoke Regional TV News-service that covers Northumberland well, but which also covers the Scottish Borders and includes happenings as far north-west as Edinburgh as well as south as far as Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It is infact the news-presenters for ITV1 News Tyne Tees, that’s Ian Payne and Amy Lea, who are better-placed to do something about this because they are also the main News-presenters for ITV1 Border’s Lookaround, which covers Cumbria and southern (actually, mostly south-west) Scotland, and which sometimes also includes western and north-western parts of Northumberland too. The Programmers could be persuaded to include the eastern Scottish Borders’ coverage in ITV1 Border’s Lookaround in the ITV1 News Tyne Tees bulletins, whilst adding an extra news-item about Northumberland too.
So if you live in northernmost Northumberland and despair at the lack of local news-coverage you can email Ian Payne and Amy Lea at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and suggest including some of the eastern Scottish Borders news that they put in ITV Border Lookaround into ITV News Tyne Tees for the benefit of North Northumbrians who have strong links with the Scottish Borders and towards Edinburgh. Do explain that STV News At Six (Edinburgh version) covers places north of the Scottish Border from the Berwick-upon-Tweed side really well, and that one might be minded to get the STV Player to watch it if changes are not made to ITV1 News Tyne Tees‘ news-output for Berwickers soon! Then get your friends and families to do likewise. Such measures are likely to get programmers at The Watermark in Gateshead, where schedules for both ITV1 News Tyne Tees and ITV1 Border’s Lookaround are produced, to take North Northumbrians a bit more seriously than they seem to at present!
Producers for BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria) would also be quite shocked if North Northumbrian viewers effectively boycott the flagship BBC1 Regional TV News- programme for North East England. This article advises that viewers in North Northumberland watch ITV1 News Tyne Tees then (later) the STV Edinburgh/ East Scotland News At Six on the STV- Player, simply because (as things are at present) that combination offers the best chance of getting some local and all-round news-coverage for folk who live in Berwick-upon-Tweed and along the Scottish Border north-eastwards of the Cheviots. If a number of far North Northumbrian viewers actually followed this advice, and then wrote to BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria) to explain why they felt it necessary to do this (i.e., to get more geographic-appropriate Regional TV News) then Programmers at BBC1 NE/ Cumbria, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne would become concerned about the loss of their most northerly viewers: Programmers for BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria) may then start covering rural Northumberland better, and also provide some overlap coverage into the eastern Scottish Borders and as far as Edinburgh. That, as far as this Website is concerned, would be a good result: To that end, the e-mail address for BBC1 Look North (NE/ Cumbria) is email@example.com.