We need real local TV news

PUBLISHED: 16:54 21 September 2007 | UPDATED: 23:04 28 May 2010

Every time I suggest there is something less than perfect about the BBC Look East programme or about Anglia News, fans write in to tell me I m writing nonsense. There is no doubt that they are hugely popular with their loyal viewers. My criticism has al

Every time I suggest there is something less than perfect about the BBC 'Look East' programme or about Anglia News, fans write in to tell me I'm writing nonsense.

There is no doubt that they are hugely popular with their loyal viewers.

My criticism has always been that there should be more regional programmes.

As I've said before, television serves the Fens very poorly. We fall between the Anglia, East Midlands and South Yorkshire regions with the result that television crews turn up on our doorstep only when there's a major fire or flood or when some local eccentric provides an excuse for pretty pictures of Fenland sunsets.

Things have been better since Anglia introduced separate bulletins for the west and the east of its region (although both come from Norwich). The BBC eventually followed suit with a few minutes 'Close Up' from Cambridge during the early-evening 'Look East' and a similar bulletin after the 10 o'clock national news.

Now my earlier warnings have come true. ITV is to axe many of its regional news services. From 2009, Anglia will show just one bulletin covering everywhere from Northampton to Southend via Yarmouth.

Viewers who get their pictures from Yorkshire will be treated to news from Leeds and Bradford.

It seems unlikely that the cash-strapped BBC will continue with its Cambridge television programmes once there is no competition. If that happened, at least we'd be spared that extraordinary introductory film which seems to think the highlights of our region are a series of concrete underpasses and a couple eating ice creams.

It's easy to make cheap television. They churn it out by the hour on the Ideal World home shopping channel from Newark Road in Peterborough where poor young men and women make endless love in front of the camera to tin jewellery and craft and design kits.

Proper television is more expensive.

Some viewers don't seem to care which they watch. Personally, I think it's important that the news, problems and successes of an area like the Fens should be shown to viewers in the rest of the region and, on occasion, to the rest of the country.

For that to happen, we need locally-based news teams.

They will soon be a thing of the past unless we protest - noisily.

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