The European Team Championships were held in Gateshead this weekend. Two afternoons of international athletics and the entire competition was being televised on BBC 2. I really enjoyed yesterday's performances and was looking forward to this afternoon's coverage. The programme listings told me that I should point the remote control in the direction of the television at 2.30pm and that the action would continue until 6.30.
The wind was gusting outside and throwing the rain at the windows so I was more than happy to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon watching my favourite sport. Stretched out on the settee I pointed and clicked. But I wasn't seeing Gateshead International Stadium. I wasn't seeing the familiar oval with straight sides. This was not athletics. I grabbed the television listings. Yes there it was, BBC2 - live athletics, 2.30pm. Then the awful truth dawned on me. The BBC had done it again. This was another of those annoying, "Regional Variations." The small print at the bottom of the page confirmed the situation. I was only going to be allowed to watch the athletics from 3.50pm.
The BBC had in its infinite wisdom decided that I was not to be allowed to watch the entire programme. ITV are just as guilty of this dictatorial behaviour. Why can't the national channels be just that,- national? I am not against the notion of regional programmes, but there should be either designated slots in the national programme when all parts of the UK deviate from the national programme, or alternatively and preferably there should be a regional BBC station, where each of the regions broadcast their parochial offerings.