The case for the Midlands: Population
The East and West Midlands area contains over 10.27 million people or about 19% of England's population (Source: ONS population estimate mid-2013).
It is important to define what is meant by the Midlands, 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 BBC Midlands area, also includes the East of England (5.94 million people), just as its BBC North area includes the North West, Yorkshire & Humber and North East regions. BBC South includes the South West and South East regions, whilst the BBC Nations are Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The towns & cities of the Midlands
The second largest city in the UK lies at the geographic heart of England: Birmingham. The city has an immediate population of 1.1 million people. The West Midlands County that surrounds the city is home to over 2.78 million people and if we widen the radius slightly, then 3.64 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 Northampton, Solihull and Telford.
Large towns - with populations upwards of 100,000 or more - include Bromsgrove, Chesterfield, Hereford, Hinckley, Lichfield, Mansfield, Newark, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Nuneaton, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Stafford, Stratford-on-Avon, Telford, Warwick, and Worcester
The 3,640,000 metro population for Greater Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country area, uses ONS population estimates, mid-2013 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, 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 and parts of Lincolnshire and north west Cambridgeshire.