January 2017


...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, 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
"John Banks is one of the UK's most prolific audiobook narrators, working for the likes of Big Finish, Audible, Random House and Games Workshop.

He is a true multi-voice, creating everything from monsters to marauding aliens.

He is also an accomplished stage and TV actor." 2018

The Black Library

The Black Library

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Saturday, 30 June 2018

June 2018 audio releases...

...and breathe!

You find me dear reader, at the confluence of two fairly intensive periods of recording, where taking a deep breath is always a good idea.

I'm delighted that my ongoing work with the Black Library is rolling along at quite a pace and equally pleased to be embarking on the eight book series, mentioned in a previous posting, of Dorothy Dunnett's 'Niccolo Books', the first of which, 'Niccolo Rising', was completed yesterday. My sense is that the audiobook will have a running length around the 25 - 26 hour mark - and we recorded it in four working days, hence my current preoccupation with breathing...

Because of the aforementioned 'confluence', I shall be off to Nottingham tomorrow, ready to begin recording an audio book and three audio dramas next week, which need to be completed by close of play on Thursday, in time to prep for the second Niccolo book, 'Spring of The Ram', which starts recording the following Monday and which seems to be a bit longer than the first book; perhaps 26 - 27 hours running time.

Following straight on from the second Niccolo book will be the recording of a non-fiction book on the subject of 'serial killers', to be followed, guess what, by the third Niccolo book, 'Race of Scorpions', which will probably come in at around the 28 - 29 hour mark. In short; I'm scheduled to record five audio books in five weeks. No pressure then...

In the meantime, some of the stuff already recorded is, despite all efforts to the contrary, finding it's way onto the virtual and actual store shelves, all ready to be hoovered up by an insatiable public appetite for sounds to commute to, or build miniature armies to, or drive to, or whatever. Which is good!

Martyrs of Elysia

A Warhammer 40,000 audio drama

Accused of murdering a rival officer, veteran drop trooper Sergeant Zachariah must convince the ruthless Commissar Mastroval of his innocence if he is to survive.

A traitor’s death awaits Sergeant Zachariah of the 158th Elysian. Accused of murdering a rival officer, the veteran drop trooper must convince the ruthless Commissar Mastroval of his innocence if he is to survive.

As the interrogation reveals disturbing truths surrounding the high-ranking officer’s demise, Zachariah realises not all is as it seems. A secret he buried long ago, one perhaps even more condemning, is on the verge of being unearthed.

Written by Chris Dows, Produced by Matt Renshaw & Narrated by John Banks

* * * * *

Next up is this anthology of almost 'commuter length' audio dramas, which was released a couple of weeks ago by The Black Library; here are some details:

Shadespire: The Darkness in the Glass

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar audio anthology

In the shattered ruins of the City of Mirrors, three tales unfold. A Stormcast Eternal and Khorne Bloodreaver are linked by dreams of the past; a lone Stormcast seeks his brethren amidst the mirrors, and an aelven prince looks for something lost…

Long ago, the Katophranes of the city of Shadespire dared to defy their god. But in the Realm of Death, the ruler of the underworlds does not permit treachery, for Nagash rules all. To punish their attempts to cheat death, Nagash cursed Shadespire to an eternal half-life.

Now, centuries later, brave warriors enter the shattered remains of the Mirrored City in search of secrets and riches… and for other, darker purposes. The three tales in this audio drama anthology showcase the dangers and mysteries of Shadespire, as the Stormcast Eternals – and their allies and enemies alike – find themselves trapped, alone and in more danger than they could have possibly imagined.

Doombound by David Annandale
A Place of Reflection By David Guymer
The Autumn Prince by Guy Haley

Performed by:

John Banks, Ken Bradshaw, Tim Bruce, Beth Chalmers, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Matthew Hunt, Jonathan Keeble, 
Toby Longworth, Melvyn Rawlinson, Luis Soto & Andrew Wincott

Produced by Matt Renshaw

Each of these three audio dramas was previously available as part of the 2017 Black Library Advent Calendar.

* * * * * 

Released a couple of days ago, I'm very much looking forward to giving this audiobook a listen. I recorded it 'in house' at PRH Audio in London a few months ago and it's part of a series of similar history books and audio books, collectively known as 'Penguin Monarchs'.

Henry VIII: The Quest for Fame

Penguin Monarchs 

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Henry VIII: The Quest for Fame by John Guy, read by John Banks.

Henry VIII's reign transformed the physical and spiritual landscape of England. Magnificent, tyrannical, a strong ruler, a 'pillager of the commonwealth', this most notorious of kings remains a figure of extreme contradictions: a devout traditionalist who oversaw a cataclysmic rupture with the church in Rome, a talented, charismatic, imposing figure who nevertheless could not bear to meet people's eyes when he talked to them.

In this revealing new account, John Guy explores how Henry himself understood the world and his place in it - from his sheltered and increasingly isolated upbringing and the blazing glory of his
accession to his desperate quest for recognition, fame and an heir, and the terrifying paranoia of his last, agonising, 54-inch-waisted years - and in doing so casts new light on his choice of wives and ministers, his impact on the European stage and his extraordinary legacy.

Running length: 3 hours - 25 minutes

 Written by John Guy & Produced by Roy McMillan
 ©2014 John Guy (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

* * * * *
And that's just about it for this update I'm afraid to say; there's much more in the pipeline and I'll reveal details at the appropriate time. Before then, there's more work to do than I care to think about! A bit of homework for my Saturday night's frivoloity, followed by packing for my travels during the coming week.
Enjoy the sunny weather wherever you are and if it isn't sunny where you are, you have my sympathy, as I shall be confined to a variety of windowless recording studios for the next several weeks, well away from any kind of sunshine. Hope the World Cup goes well and Le Tour de France and the F1 GP season - missing you already! :-) 

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

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Puppet Show

Welcome to The Puppet Show....

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District's prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues, and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.
He is reluctantly partnered with brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst Tilly Bradshaw, and the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan, and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he's ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive....

 Unabridged Audiobook Length: 9 hrs and 46 min

©2018 M. W. Craven (P)2018 Hachette Audio UK

This is a fabulous novel which I thoroughly enjoyed recording. It's published today in all formats and in a short while, I'm off to the launch party at a bookshop in central London. I'm looking forward to meeting the author, Mike Craven; I rarely get to meet authors, so it should be a fun event.

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

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Rock and Roll is Life

Good afternoon! The quickest of quick updates I'm afraid; the current work situation involves a lot of preparation and I feel as though I'm in the foothills of the Himalayas, strapping on a couple of oxygen tanks and getting ready for the great ascent. As the information is already (!) available on the web site, I can at least mention what I'm doing; which is unusual and means that I don't have to be 'coy' for the next six months!

Starting in late June, I'm scheduled to record the eight books of Dorothy Dunnett's 'The Niccolo Books' series, a project which should be fun and which certainly falls into the 'great challenge' category of narration. As far as I can estimate, the shortest of the eight books has a running time of about 24 hours; others are well up into the 30 hour plus range; a little bit like The Malazan series I did a couple of years ago I suppose.

However, in the meantime, I have three audio dramas to record next week and a non-Niccolo book in the first week of July, so, lots of prep as I'm sure you can imagine!

In the other meantime (?), here are some details of an audio book I recorded in April which was released at the end of May:

"Rock and Roll Is Life is the new novel from the country's leading man of letters, D. J. Taylor.  You may remember the Helium Kids. Back in their late '60s and early '70s heyday, they appeared on Top of the Tops on 27 separate occasions, released five Billboard-certified platinum albums, played sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and were nearly, but not quite, as big as the Beatles and the Stones.

Three decades later, in the big house on the outskirts of Norwich, Nick Du Pont is looking back on the roller-coaster years he spent as their publicist in a world of licensed excess and lurking tragedy. What follows is not only the story of a rock band at a formative time in musical history, when America was opening up to English music and huge amounts of money and self-gratification were there for the taking.

For the tale is also Nick's - the life and times of a war baby born in a Norwich council house, the son of an absconding GI, whose career is a search for some of the advantages that his birth denied him. It is at once a worm's eye of British pop music's golden age and a bittersweet personal journey, with cameo appearances from everyone from Elvis and Her Majesty the Queen Mother to Andy Warhol.

Rock and Roll Is Life is a vastly entertaining, picaresque and touching novel inspired by the excess and trajectories of the great '60s and '70s supergroups and of the tales brought back from the front line by a very special breed of Englishmen who made it big in the States as the alchemists and enablers, as well as the old making way for the new in the era of the baby boomers.

At its heart is one man's adventure and the poignancy of the special relationships that dominate his life."

©2018 D. J. Taylor (P)2018 Little, Brown Book Group

* * * * * 

Tomorrow, 7th June, sees the release of M.W. Craven's fabulous novel "The Puppet Show", which I also recorded in April. The audio book and printed novel are being released simultaneously and I've been invited to the launch party tomorrow evening. Having had no opportunity to listen to the recording yet, my fingers are very firmly crossed in the hope that I haven't made a horrrible mess of it! That aside, it should be a fun evening; I'll let you know... !

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

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 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


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

...I'm genuinely astonished!

Fabius Bile

Fabius Bile

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


...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


...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