It’s your region
Thursday, September 25, 2008 by Ian Jones
A woman on the Today programme this morning insisted Lookaround was her favourite thing on TV.
That’s Lookaround as in Border Television’s early evening regional news magazine. A few other residents of Carlisle were also interviewed, and the majority testified stubbornly to appreciating this long-running showcase for colourful people with a story to tell.
The reason for their ire? Ofcom’s decision to allow ITV to axe some regional bulletins and cut back regional programming by 50%, in the process merging some long-standing shows and creating new ’super-regions’. Under the proposals Border would join Tyne Tees and share the 6pm half hour regional news slot. Presumably they’d get 15 minutes each. Not enough, the woman argued, to cover the things that matter to citizens of Cumbria and the Lowlands.
There can’t be many who think like her, though. Surely the stock of the ITV regional magazine has never been lower. By contrast, the BBC’s regional efforts are, and have been for quite a while, at the top of their game. I can’t help thinking ITV should try and cut its losses completely and get out of doing regional stuff entirely. No service at all is better than an undignified, half-arsed one.