Steph McGovern reveals her parents live in area dubbed 'no go' by the BBC in bid to make London understand the North

Steph McGovern, who is originally from Middlesbrough and now lives in Manchester. Photo: Convention of the North
Steph McGovern, who is originally from Middlesbrough and now lives in Manchester. Photo: Convention of the North
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Broadcaster Steph McGovern has outlined how out of touch London was with the North in a story about her first days at the BBC.

Speaking during the Convention of the North, in Rotherham, where the Prime Minister will speak later today, Ms McGovern said: "When I first started at the BBC and went to London, when I turned up my boss said to the team: 'We've got this new girl starting and she's really unusual - she's northern - so I was thinking we could take her to the theatre because she won't have been there before".

"I turned up at Radio 4 and there was a map of Middlesbrough on the wall, my home town."

Excited, Ms McGovern said she asked: "Who's the smoggy?"

But they said: "Oh the map? That's because we're doing a programme about Asbos."

She said: "I said: 'What's the red line on the middle of the map?' And they said: 'That's the no go zone for the camera crew.' My mum and dad live in the middle of that!"

And Ms McGovern said she would feel safer walking home there than in Shepherd's Bush.

Ms McGovern told the story to demonstrate how important it was to change the view of the North in the eyes of those in power and the media.

It was a theme also picked up by Ruth Ibegbuna, founder of social action and youth leadership programme Reclaim in Bradford.

Ms Ibegbuna has been campaigning for media organisations to stop using a stock photo of a little girl in a red coat running down a passageway between houses as a default for stories about the north, poverty, hunger, and working class issues.

She said: "We are more than this image. If this image symbolises everything the North is then they don't understand the North.

"We are a beautiful, powerful place and I think this is not good enough."

The major Northern Powerhouse event today is being delivered in partnership by the Convention of the North and NP11, the group of all 11 Northern Local Enterprise Partnership Chairs, with support from Government. It will bring together the North’s political, business, community and academic leaders, along with young people’s groups.

The event will be a working convention to debate policy across workshops which will address skills and education, housing, transport, innovation, trade and investment, and clean growth. Sessions throughout the day will be brought together into a powerful, unified case to the new Prime Minister and Government for tangible investment in the Northern Powerhouse, putting it at the top of the economic agenda, so that it can fulfil its potentially transformational role in the future of the UK.