ASSASSIN'S CREED

ASSASSIN'S CREED
January 2017

Hello...

...I'm John Banks - welcome to my website.

The majority of my working life has been spent in the theatre with companies including
York Theatre Royal, Cheltenham Everyman, Sheffield Crucible, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange and the National Theatre in London.

Television work includes Emmerdale, Coronation Street, and 'Allo, Allo!'. I have also worked on a number of radio drama and comedy productions with the BBC.

Since March 2009, I have enjoyed playing a huge variety of characters in numerous audio-drama stories for Big Finish Productions and Games Workshop, for whom I have performed in over 200 audio dramas*, details of which can be found in the postings below.


There are also details listed here of the more than 120 audio books* I've recorded since March 2013,
including the unabridged New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, for companies including audible.co.uk, Hachette, RNIB, W.F. Howes, Little Brown Group, Penguin Random House, Games Workshop, Orion, Fantom Films & Ladbroke Audio.

(*figures at February 2018)

I hope you find something of interest here and come back soon for further updates.


For all posts, reviews and audio samples, please scroll down...

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

The Black Library

The Black Library

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Friday, 18 May 2018

Blackshields: Red Fief


A Horus Heresy Audio Drama

Endryd Haar leads his battered warband of renegade Blackshields into battle once more. Answering a distress call from an old friend, Haar seeks out the tithe-world of Duat, intent on plunder.


As the forces of the Warmaster close in on Terra, Endryd Haar leads his warband of renegade Blackshields into battle once more. With his forces battered in the wake of their raid on Xana, Haar finds himself in desperate need of warriors.

Answering a distress call from an old friend, Haar seeks out the tithe-world of Duat, intent on plunder. But when he discovers what is hidden there, Haar is faced with a decision that will determine his fate – and perhaps that of Terra itself.


Performed by Gareth Armstrong, John Banks, Toby Longworth, Andrew Wincott, Tim Bruce & Steve Conlin

Written by Josh Reynolds and Produced by Matt Renshaw 

* * * * *

Shockingly, this audio drama was released a week ago and I've only just been able to upload details of it here. This is the second of Josh Reynolds' 'Blackshield' adventures and I'm truly delighted to be playing Endryd Haar, the anti-hero of the stories. There's a fabulous cast for this drama too and as I got a very rare early copy, I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Part of the enjoyment was of course, thinking back to the fun we had in the studio, but it's also very pleasing to listen to a piece of work that stands up and plays well. I enjoyed it and hope, if it's your kind of thing, that you will too.

I've been away from home for the last couple of weeks, being busy in the studio with some fabulous audio drama projects and the continuation of a long story arc in audio book format and now I'm just catching up with all the stuff I've neglected recently - like this blog!

Further busy times ahead in the very near future, though I do now have some time at home to start prepping again for the next tranche of recording, which, again, shockingly, will take me all the way through to mid October!

There's some new Sigmar stuff coming from the Black Library, which lots of folks are excited about and I was asked to record a 'trailer - reveal' with regard to what's happening - and here it is:



Thanks for stopping by -

...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Skald: The Short Story Collection


Skald: 6 Original Crime & Thriller Short Stories


Commissioned by Audible and written especially for audio format this collection brings together six crime stories through the themes of discovery, destination and arrival.

Top narrators bring these gripping tales to life acknowledging the Scandinavian tradition of oral storytelling.


In this collection Ben Okri and Martin Edwards explore 'discovery' in their stories; Sophie Hannah and Emma Dibdin each draw on 'destination' for their tales of painful pasts; and Elly Griffiths and Parker Bilal tackle the theme of 'arrival' in their stories.

Skald is one of three short story collections written by our favourite best-selling novelists and emerging authors, and curated based on the themes of arrival, discovery and destination. Jali collates science fiction tales while Bard collates contemporary fiction.



Stories written by Martin Edwards, Ben Okri, Sophie Hannah, Emma Dibdin, Elly Griffiths & Parker Bilal 

 Narrated by John Banks, Jessica Dennis, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Damian Lynch, Colleen Prendergast & Katy Sobey

Running Length 4 hours - 30 minutes

©2018 Audible, Ltd. (P)2018 Audible, Ltd.
 
 
I must say, it was great fun to record 'Bully The Blue Bear' by Sophie Hannah for this series. I narrated the story, directed by Tamsin Collison and then Colleen Prendergast (in the photo, right) came in and the two of us recorded the rest of the story together in dialogue.

We were subsequently interviewed for a short promo by Audible Studios, which was a hoot and, as usual, I blathered on for ages. The amount they eventually used in the video was tiny in comparison to the deluge of noise I came up with. Colleen, in contrast, was concise and sensible and I'm very glad she was there, otherwise, I might still be talking and pontificating on life and the universe - as one does!

Alas, the video is bigger than the upload limit for this site (!); though it can be viewed at the Audible web site (Skald: The Short Story Collection) or on my Twitter feed (top left on this site).


* * * * *

On a different subject; the last couple of weeks have been very busy in the recording studio and the latest audio book was finished on Saturday evening. The dealine for publishing on this one is quite tight and in addition to actual recording, editing and checking also take up a chunk of time, so, we had to get it recorded asap, hence a late Saturday completion.

This week is mostly about prepping for the next two weeks in studio, so I'd better sign off now and get on with some work!


...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Imperator: Wrath of The Omnissiah


"As ve spoke the ritual lines, Magos Dominus Militaris Xaiozanus Skitara Xilliarkis Exasas dilated the dorsal spiracles of vis intertracular lymphoid to release a cloud of bacteriophagic incense."

Your mission dear reader, should you wish to accept it, is to have a shot at saying the above line out loud and to say it 'with purpose'...

Tricky huh? Well, it was a very small part of my Imperator 'mission' and I found it quite tricky!

It's taken from a fantastic story though, by Gav Thorpe, and I enjoyed the challenge of performing the text as an audio book. It was released a couple of days ago on the 23rd of April, so I can now look forward to hearing the finished production and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works in audio as well as it works in print. Tricky...tricky...

Here are some details from The Black Library:

Imperator: Wrath of the Omnissiah

An Adeptus Titanicus novel

The Casus Belli, an Imperator Titan that has defended the Imperium for ten millennia, marches to war at the head of an army of Adeptus Mechanicus – but will treachery end the god-machine's long legacy of glory?


Holy warbringer of the Legio Metalica, the Imperator Titan Casus Belli has routed armies and levelled cities over ten thousand years of service in the name of the Machine God.

As war engulfs the Dark Imperium this mechanical god of battle arrives to destroy the renegade armies and tech-priests of Nicomedua. At the head of a battlegroup of Titans, Imperial Knights and skitarii, Casus Belli must defeat tainted war engines, Traitor Legionnares and armies of cultists.

While apocalyptic battles rage across the planet, a no less deadly battle unfolds within the Titan itself, as Magos Exasus, leader of the Casus Belli’s Tech-guard, must find and defeat the enemy within before their insidious plans come to fruition.


Written by Gav Thorpe & Narrated by John Banks 

Unabridged running time: 9 hours - 39 minutes

* * * * *

Thanks as always for stopping by the web site, it's been some while since I've been able to update as I've been very busy recording lots of new stuff. The reason I have a little 'free' time this afternoon is that I'm trying to shake off a cold. A cold! I hate having colds (who doesn't?) and this one has affected my voice quite a bit, which is very boring. 

Fingers crossed, the cold will soon abate and I'll be back in studio very soon; next up is an excellent crime/detective story and I'm really itching to get on with it! There are also some interesting audio dramas and books coming in the pipeline and I'm looking forward to telling you all about them ASAP. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Imperator.




...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!
 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Sherlock Holmes: The Master of Blackstone Grange

This story, The Master of Blackstone Grange, recorded in September 2017, marks my 100th audio drama with director Ken Bentley. It was released at the end of March as part of a box set, along with The Adventure of the Fleet Street Transparency, both written by Jonathan Barnes.

"The arrival at Baker Street of a client who, unusually, seeks advice from both men brings to their attention the existence of an isolated manor house in the east of England known as Blackstone Grange. The place, for so long the locus of wild rumours of witchcraft and sorcery, has acquired a very modern new master – a charismatic socialite named ‘Honest’ Jim Sheedy, a man of boundless ambition whose influence over British society appears, inexplicably, to be growing.

The detective learns that Colonel Sebastian Moran, released early from prison, travels to meet with Sheedy on the very day of his freedom. But curiosity curdles into obsession when Mycroft warns his brother, in the strictest possible terms, against investigating any further."




Nicholas Briggs (Sherlock Holmes), Richard Earl (Dr John Watson), Harry Peacock (‘Honest’ Jim Sheedy), Lucy Briggs-Owen (Genevieve Dumont), Tim Bentinck (Mycroft Holmes / Apothecary), John Banks (Colonel Sebastian Moran), Eve Webster (Grace / Ettie), Nigel Hastings (Horace Grigg), David Birrell (Inspector Felix Abell / Lord Arthur Perowne), Tomm Coles (Ferndown / Chilcott), Blake Ritson (Dr Kemp), Anjella Mackintosh (Lydia Rangeley / Sally), Leighton Pugh (Hubert Rangeley / Clark / Mr Blythe / Impressario). Other parts played by members of the cast.


Written by Jonathan Barnes & Directed by Ken Bentley 

* * * * *

The last few weeks have been occupied with some interesting and diverse audio projects - details to follow - and lots of preparation for a very busy phase of recording to come over the next few weeks. Certainly, the time between now and the middle of May is going to be a bit crazy; a drama and a book to record next week alone! I'll let you know how I get on!


...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!


Friday, 16 March 2018

Hallowed Knights: Plague Garden

So hot off the press, this recording isn't even available yet! Weeell, that's not quite true. There's no mention of it on the Black Library web site at the moment, but it has already appeared on the audible.co.uk web site, so I feel able to mention it here. In any case, it will probably also be available directly from the Black Library tomorrow.

So, what's all the fuss about? This is a cracking story from Josh Reynolds, which I had great fun recording ( I know, I always say that, but it's true!) - here are some details:

"As the War for the Realm of Life continues, Lord-Castellant Lorrus Grymn leads the battered remnants of the Steel Souls warrior chamber against the sargasso-citadels of the Verdant Bay. The Hallowed Knights claim victory, but at a terrible cost - Grymn is lost to Realm of Chaos. 



Now Gardus, newly reforged and fresh from the destruction of the Scabrous Sprawl, must lead his warriors into the foetid heart of Nurgle's realm in search of the Lord-Castellant, where they must once more brave the horrors of the Realm of Decay...."



...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!
 

Arm of The Sphinx

Following hot on the heels of the January release of Senlin Ascends, the first of Josiah Bancroft's Books of Babel, comes the second instalment, Arm of The Sphinx. Originally self-published, Josiah's books are now reaching a huge audience via Hachette, which is part of the vast Little, Brown Group, and receiving the attention and appreciation they richly deserve.

I've read a number of reviews for the books and they been universally positive. I can only hope that my telling of the stories in audiobook format do them justice! I've included a short audio sample from Arm of The Sphinx, which appears below, along with further details of the story:

"Forced by necessity into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew struggle to survive aboard their stolen airship. Senlin's search for his lost wife continues, even as her ghost haunts his every step. But the Tower of Babel proves to be as difficult to reenter as it was to escape.  


 



In desperation, he turns to a rumoured legend of the tower, the mysterious and dangerous Sphinx. But help from the Sphinx does not come cheaply, and one of his crew already knows the terrible cost."

 ©2018 Josiah Bancroft (P)2018 Hachette Audio UK

"Like its predecessor, it is a brilliant piece of work...these two books are genius. I just love them. The story, characters and imagination shine." (Mark Lawrence)
 
 
...all for now, more just as soon as it happens! 

Thursday, 1 March 2018

#WorldBookDay

This has just popped up on my Twitter feed...


...I'm genuinely astonished!
  

Lukas the Trickster

Good afternoon! So here I am on this very cold and snowy day, having returned from a recording mission in the even colder environs of Nottingham, to mention the (February 23rd) release of an audio book from The Black Library: Lukas the Trickster.

Before this latest audio book, I'd played 'Wolf Lord Kjarl Grimblood' in the audio drama 'The Art of Provocation'. On that occasion, BL stalwart Toby Longworth played Lukas and, as ever, did a fine job. No pressure at all then to follow in his footsteps by voicing Lukas in this audio book adventure!

Here are some details and fabulous artwork from The Black Library:

Lukas the Trickster


A Space Wolves story

When the drukhari come to raid Fenris itself, Lukas the Trickster takes to the battlefield to face a rival unlike any he has fought before…


Among the Space Wolves there are as many sagas as there are warriors. Though none quite like that of Lukas the Trickster. Renowned and reviled in equal measure, the Jackalwolf has ever stood apart from his brothers, passed from pack to pack by embittered Wolf Lords.

But as a new enemy invades the icy reaches of Fenris at the height of the Helwinter, Lukas finds himself facing a foe who may rival even his legendary cunning – the drukhari corsair, Duke Sliscus.

In the battle between wolf and serpent, who will emerge triumphant, and who will lay on red snow?


Written by Josh Reynolds, Narrated by John Banks & Produced by Kylia Whitehead
                                  
Audio book running time: 10 hours and 30 minutes

                         
* * * * *

The last few weeks have been busy indeed, with some very exciting projects working their way through to final release. This morning, the text of a new audio book arrived, which is scheduled to be recorded next week, assuming I can plough my way to the studio! So, not much prep time for this one and at first glance, it appears to be quite a challenging story; we shall see! 

I'd love to reveal details here and now, but alas, as usual, I'm honour bound to keep things 'under my hat' until officially allowed to give them a proper mention. As I'm about to venture outdoors, it's probably a good idea to keep everything else under my hat!


...all for now, more just as soon as it happens! 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Doctor Who: Ghost Walk

Good afternoon!

It was summer and it was very warm when we recorded Ghost Walk. I remember it fondly for a number of reasons; this was the first story I'd worked on with Matthew Waterhouse, whom I found to be charming and friendly and it was fun to work with Fenella Woolgar again. The last time Fenella and I worked together was on Nevermore, with Paul McGann and Emilia Fox, amongst others.

It's always an absolute joy to be in the company of Carolyn Seymour and working with her on this story was a real treat. Having not seen her since the recording, I can honestly say that I miss her; I miss her wit and her intelligence and her hugely charismatic energy.  I also remember my fabulous friend, Sarah Sutton, giving me a lift home from the studio and our getting stuck in incredibly dense traffic - thank goodness for the joy of easy conversation - and air-con!

Director Barnaby Edwards always creates a great working environment and Ghost Walk was consequently a lot of fun to record. I'm not sure that my role in this audio drama is especially pivotal, but I do look forward to giving a listen.

Here are some details:

"This is a city of ghosts and no-one knows them better than Leanne. Twice a night she leads tourists to visit the most haunted sites - the Hanging Yard, the Witch Pool, the Screaming House, and, of course, the Catacombs.




Leanne’s realised the ghosts of the city are real. Something’s lurking in the Catacombs - an ancient force that has been growing in the darkness for centuries. Sabaoth is returning and they must be stopped before they devour the world. Leanne knows this, because a ghost told her.

A ghost called The Doctor."


Peter Davison (The Doctor) Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka) Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) Fenella Woolgar (Leanne) Sacha Dhawan (Matthew)  
Stephen Greif (Sabaoth) Carolyn Seymour (Mrs Stubbs) Philip Childs (Giles)  
John Banks (Louie) Rebecca Tromans (Nancy)

Written by James Goss
Directed by Barnaby Edwards 
 

...all for now, more just as soon as it happens! 


PS: some very exciting projects in the pipeline over the next few weeks and months; details to follow! 

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Scarlet City: Part II Rise

Good afternoon! A brief lull, nay, 'respite' from a hectic recording schedule allows me just enough time to mention the second episode of Scarlet City and here are some details from Audible Studios:

This Original multicast drama piece blends history with fiction to tell the story of Jonah and his rise to fame through war, disease, ruin and riches.

London, 1337. England is at war, and the King is in financial straits, meaning that Jonah's hard-earned business and fortune hang in the balance.

A far cry from his humble beginnings as a draper's apprentice, Jonah is now one of the influential merchants in England, and he manages to secure the hand of the daughter of one of the most powerful and dangerous nobles in the country.

As Jonah's wealth and prominence grow, so do his enemies and the threats they bring - and even Jonah's close relationship with the King doesn't guarantee security. The King is at war, and he wants Jonah there beside him.

Told in three parts, hear Medieval London come to life in this historical epic, Audible Original's most ambitious production to date.



Narrated by Miriam Margolyes, OBE (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Romeo + Juliet, Mulan) and starring Douglas Booth (Riot Club, Loving Vincent, Shelley) as Jonah and Samuel West (BAFTA nominated; Mr Selfridge, Howards End) as Willcox.

Also featuring:

Josephine Arden, Timothy Bentinck, John Banks, Clare Buckfield, Elliot Chapman, Oliver Coopersmith, Raymond Coulthard, Gareth David-Lloyd, Raj Ghatak, Joe Jameson, James Joyce, Barry McCarthy, Olly McCauley, Tony Millan, George Naylor, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Steven Pacey, Nicholas Pegg, David Schofield, Jane Slavin, Dan Starkey, Jonty Stephens, Julie Teal, Alexander Vlahos, Niky Wardley, Lizzie Waterworth-Santo, Samuel West, Finty Williams. 
 
©2002 Rebecca GablĂ© (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

As you can see, an epic tale and a fairly epic cast! Needless to say, there wasn't room or time to have us all in together and apparently, no camera lens wide enough to include the entire company!

But here's an image of some of those called in for an early recording session; I even know some of them!



* * * * *

I'm enjoying a bit of 'time out' this week, as I mentioned above. In some ways, I'm now having the Christmas holiday I missed as a result of having to prep an audio book which started recording on 3rd January, the first of four audio books I recorded in January. A very 'full on' start to 2018! 

Next up for me is a very interesting audio drama, alas, top secret at the moment, followed by another drama recording and another audio book, which takes me up to mid-March. So, there it is; lots to look forward to, but a little more time to prepare and record than I had in the crazy pre-Christmas schedule.

Free time... what to do...?
...all for now, more just as soon as it happens! 
 

Fabius Bile

Fabius Bile
WARHAMMER 40,000

Reviews & comments:

The Malazan Empire

Over the course of this 8 book series, the amazing John Banks has had to create and voice 648 distinct characters!

Neil Gardner - producer

Mervyn Stone: The Axeman Cometh


John Banks is a voice genius...

Nev Fountain - writer

Mervyn Stone... played by the note-perfect John Banks.

Matt Hills - Reviews in Time and Space

Dr. Who: The Sleeping City

I also must draw attention to John Banks who is an exceptional voice artist and in this one story performs more characters that I can count. ... it is listening to episodes like this one that really do let his talents shine through.

Tony Jones - Red Rocket Rising

Highlander:

...playing several parts, was the brilliant Big Finish regular John Banks - it was as if there were about 40 different actors in the other booth.

James Moran - writer

I went for the best of the best and brought in voice artiste extraordinaire John Banks.

Paul Spragg - producer

Vienna:

...also features the mind - bogglingly versatile and reliable John Banks

Jonathan Morris - writer

Dead Funny:

The acting is first rate… wonderfully played by John Banks as Richard – his impersonation of Eric Morecambe is worth the admission money alone.

Beverly Greenberg: Bolton Evening News

A Spy Like No Other:

This is the best audio book ever.

The Cult Den

Mr. Happiness:

This early and unfamiliar play by David Mamet is a character study of a 1930s radio counsellor, dispensing suave advice to his devoted listeners. John Banks brings out the wry comedy of this – comedy quite unappreciated by the character – with a clever range of gesture and vocal tone.

Jeremy Kingston: The Times


All My Sons:

This is a beautifully crafted piece ...and it affords a wonderful opportunity for John Readman* to do his All-American Boy act as Chris Keller. This most polished and well observed performance as the blighted son of a blighted father must rank as one of his finest accomplishments yet. ( * see Profile)

The Stage

The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes

Kudos should also go to John Banks. Lestrade can be a thankless part, but Banks rose to the challenge, playing a pivotal role in this decades long arc.

Raissa Devereux - SciFiPulse

The Judgement of Sherlock Holmes

John Banks is multi-tasking, both as the superb Lestrade and also the villainous and no doubt moustache twirling Sebastian Moran. They sound completely different and I bow to his talent.

Sue Davies - SFcrowsnest


Further reviews and comments are included with specific postings throughout the site.

The War Doctor

The War Doctor
December 2015