West Country or Westcountry?

West Country or Westcountry?

WITHOUT WISHING TO STATE what Basil Faulty might call ‘the bloomin’ obvious’ (or something like that) we live in the West Country. Note, two words.

Then a business called Westcountry Television came along. Note, one word. The company replaced its predecessor, TSW (Television South West), on the 1 January 1993.

One of the shareholders of Westcounty Television at that time was South West Water, the water and sewerage business for the South West. How would Westcountry Television’s outdoor reporters identify themselves when they appeared on our screens wearing company-issue anoraks, people wondered? Would their badges read WC TV?

The BBC would have loved that, but no.  The WC part was unthinkable in the circumstances and they came out as simply ‘W’ instead. Then South West Water decided to sell its shareholding but the West Country now had a television company that influenced a generation into thinking that “Westcountry” was the “right” way to spell West Country.


Good to see that ITV’s regional news programmes have since given us our proper titling back – which was very nice of them. But flick through any business directory serving the South West today and see how many enterprises called themselves ‘Westcountry-Something-Or-Other,’ prompting the rest of us to have to sometimes think twice before we write about where we live. In the West Country.

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Writer, author, script and sketch-writer, cartoonist, public speaker, Visitor Engagement Volunteer (National Trust) and would-be ukelele virtuoso.