The case for the Midlands & East: Population
The Midlands & East is the largest of all the macro broadcasting regions and nations, with some 17 million people, or 25.46% of the UK population.
Within this wide area, the East and West Midlands are home to 10.8 million people or 16.1% of the UK's population. For comparison purposes only, that's more than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.
In addition, the East of England is home to 6.24 million people, or 9.34% of the UK (source: ONS population estimate mid-2019).
The Midlands & East macro region is comprised of 3 statistical areas: The East & West Midlands and the East of England. Just as the macro North is also made up of 3: the North West, Yorkshire & Humber and North East regions. The macro South includes the South West and South East regions (but excludes London) whilst the Nations are Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It is important to describe the Midlands & East, for it soon becomes clear that the area includes the second largest city and conurbation in the UK, along with about half of England's mid-sized cities and a long list of counties. By doing so, we seek to underline the point that a significant section of the UK is simply not being served or represented by the broadcasters.
The towns & cities
The second largest city in the UK lies at the geographic heart of England: Birmingham. The city has an immediate population of nearly 1.2 million people. The West Midlands County that immediately surrounds the city is home to over 2.93 million people and if we widen the radius again, then 3.8 million people live within approximately 20 miles of the city centre (see diagram below). This is the most highly populated urban area outside the capital.
Other important towns and cities in the Midlands - with populations over 250,000 - include Coventry, Derby, Dudley, Leicester, Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Large towns - with populations upwards of 200,000 or more - include Colchester, Luton, Northampton, Peterborough, Solihull and Telford.
Large towns - with populations upwards of 100,000 or more - include Bedford, Bromsgrove, Chesterfield, Hereford, Hinckley, Ipswich, Lichfield, Mansfield, Newark, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Norwich, Nuneaton, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Stafford, Stratford-on-Avon, Telford, Warwick, and Worcester
The 3,804,000 metro population for Greater Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country area, uses ONS population estimates, mid-2019 for: the 7 metropolitan councils of the West Midlands County (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton) and the immediate boroughs whose administrative centres are located within 20 miles of Birmingham city centre (Bromsgrove, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, North Warwickshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Redditch, South Staffs, Tamworth and Wyre Forest).
The broadcasting areas
From a broadcasting perspective, the West Midlands region generally covers the following English counties: Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, The West Midlands county area (i.e. Birmingham & Solihull, the Black Country boroughs and Coventry), Warwickshire and Worcestershire and most of Gloucestershire and the north and west of Oxfordshire.
Likewise, the East Midlands region generally covers Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, most of Northamptonshire, Rutland and parts of Lincolnshire and north west Cambridgeshire.
The East of England region is a wide area that is sub-divided into East and West halves. The East covers Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and central and north Hertfordshire, The West covers Norfolk, Suffolk and central and north Essex.