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

(*figures at May 2017)

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

Assassin's Creed

Catherine, David & me as Gully......

Catherine, David & me as Gully......
May 2016

The Herald of Sanguinius - short story

Echoes Of Revelation

Echoes Of Revelation
The Horus Heresy

The Carrion Throne

The Carrion Throne
Warhammer 40,000

Daedalus

Daedalus
Warhammer 40,000

The Binary Succession

The Binary Succession
Warhammer 40,000

Pharos - audio book

The War Doctor

The War Doctor
December 2015

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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Echoes of Revelation

Good afternoon! You know, you have to keep an eye on those good folks at The Black Library; blink for an instant and they've gone and released something new!

Today's release is an audio drama anthology of stories from The Horus Heresy and here are some details:

Echoes of Revelation


A Horus Heresy audio anthology

From internecine war between the Emperor's Children to what might be a final battle for Marcus Valerius and his Therion Cohort, and further, into the depths of space and time where Oll Persson seeks his destiny, this trio of audio dramas explores new avenues of the Horus Heresy.


For more than two hundred years, the armies of the Emperor of Mankind fought to reconquer the galaxy – led by the superhuman primarchs, the Space Marine Legions brought countless worlds back under the rule of ancient Terra.

Now Horus, once honoured Warmaster and favoured son of the Emperor, has been corrupted by the whispered promises of Chaos. At his command the Imperium is torn apart by a terrible and bloody civil war, the likes of which the galaxy has never seen...

There are some who whisper that Horus’ rebellion was not of his own devising, but orchestrated by more sinister powers. While such thoughts are tantamount to heresy, they pale next to the notion that many noble heroes and champions of Terra are in some way blessed by a higher power still.

Yet the war still rages across the Imperium, and all eyes now fall towards the Throneworld itself... This anthology CD features three short audio dramas following the half-understood destinies of some of the most important individuals in the galaxy.



This audio drama anthology includes the following stories:

Perpetual by Dan Abnett The Soul, Severed by Chris Wraight Valerius by Gav Thorpe



Performed by:

Gareth Armstrong, John Banks, Ian Brooker, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Penelope Rawlins, Saul Reichlin,Toby Longworth and Luis Soto

Produced by Matt Renshaw

* * * * * *

"So", I hear you asking, "what have you been up to lately?" Well, that's kind of you to ask. The last few weeks have involved quite a bit of preparation for a flurry of recording and studio activity, which I'm now in the middle of. On Monday, I should finish recording a 'cook book' for RNIB, which will complete a busy 'three audio books recorded in six days' phase. Also on Monday and also for RNIB, I'll be recording a current affairs magazine and a radio voice over. Speaking of voice overs; I've just recorded a trailer for... oops, sorry, can't talk about that just yet!



I must now interrupt myself to say that my second ever audio drama for Big Finish has just started on BBC Radio 4 Extra - yes, it's on the radio now; Episode 1 with Episode 2 at the same time next week, 6pm!

Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here are some details...







LEVIATHAN

"No one lives to old age in the village. When their Time is come, they are taken and never seen again. That is The Way. And, should anyone try to break with the established order of things, then the fury of Herne the Hunter is unleashed...




When the TARDIS materializes near a castle in this mediaeval society, the Doctor and Peri befriend Gurth, a terrified youth who is attempting to flee his fate. And Herne is closing in...

Why does the local baron impose the culling? What is the secret of Zeron? And who are the Sentinels of the New Dawn? The answers lie within a cave... "

Colin Baker The Doctor   Nicola Bryant Peri   Howard Gossington Gurth  
John Banks Herne the Hunter  Beth Chalmers Althya  Jamie Parker Wulfric  Derek Carlyle Siward

Written by Brian & Paul Finch & Directed by Ken Bentley

* * * * *

As you can see, I'm credited with playing 'Herne the Hunter', the creature with antlers on the cover artwork. Having just had a quick look at the script, I'm reminded that I also played 'Osbert, Chandris and The Baron'. Beth Chalmers also played a handful of characters and it occurred to me at the time, that if I was in any way serious about audio drama, I should closely observe everything Beth did and attempt to emulate her astonishing versatility; she was and is amazing.


Howard, Del, Nicola, Colin, Jamie, me & Beth - 28/29 April 2009 

As I mentioned above, this was my second story for Big Finish and my first time working with Ken Bentley; the next recording Ken and I do ( coming soon ), will be our 99th together, from a total of nearly 180 further stories I've done with BF since 2009.

It was a great experience; we had a lot of fun with all our voices and it was lovely to work with Colin Baker again ( having recorded my first story, 'Paper Cuts', with him just before Leviathan ) and Nicola Bryant of course, who originally recommended me to Nick Briggs and to whom I owe a great deal - thanks Nicola! 

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

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution

Released by audible.co.uk yesterday, this fascinating book was a delight to read and quite a challenge to record - those Russian names don't always trip easily off an English speaking tongue!

It's a fabulous book and here are some details:

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 


"The renowned fantasy and science fiction writer China Mieville has long been inspired by the ideals of the Russian Revolution, and here, on the centenary of the revolution, he provides his own distinctive take on its history. 


In February 1917, in the midst of bloody war, Russia was still an autocratic monarchy: nine months later it became the first socialist state in world history. How did this unimaginable transformation take place? How was a ravaged and backward country, swept up in a desperately unpopular war, rocked by not one but two revolutions?

This is the story of the extraordinary months between those upheavals, in February and October, of the forces and individuals who made 1917 so epochal a year, of their intrigues, negotiations, conflicts and catastrophes. From familiar names like Lenin and Trotsky to their opponents Kornilov and Kerensky; from the byzantine squabbles of urban activists to the remotest villages of a sprawling empire; from the revolutionary railroad Sublime to the ciphers and static of coup by telegram; from grand sweep to forgotten detail.

Historians have debated the revolution for 100 years, its portents and possibilities: the mass of
literature can be daunting. But here is a book for those new to the events, told not only in their historical import but in all their passion and drama and strangeness. Because as well as a political event of profound and ongoing consequence, Mieville reveals the Russian Revolution as a breathtaking story."

©2017 China Mieville (P)2017 Audible, Ltd


Written by China Mieville, Produced by Neil Gardner & Narrated by John Banks

Unabridged audio book length: 11 hours and 37 minutes

October: link to audio sample 



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

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Carrion Throne

...a title that doesn't in fact, refer to an elaborate seat, classed as 'hand baggage' by an airline!

Instead, The Carrion Throne is an audio book released from The Black Library, which I have narrated and which is currently available in a variety of listening and reading formats. I must say how much I enjoyed recording this adventure; not only does it have its fair share of action, but also has the intriguing feel of a detective story, populated by some fascinating and very well developed characters. For me, the fact that the narrative takes place on Terra provides the story with even more interest, as I've never previously encountered such a detailed description of the 'home-world'.

Here are some details:

Vaults of Terra: The Carrion Throne 

 

Inquisitor Crowl, who serves on Holy Terra itself, follows the trail of a conspiracy that leads him to the corridors of the Imperial Palace itself…

 
In the hellish sprawl of Imperial Terra, Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Erasmus Crowl serves as a stalwart and vigilant protector, for even the Throneworld is not immune to the predations of its enemies.


In the course of his Emperor-sworn duty, Crowl becomes embroiled in a dark conspiracy, one that leads all the way to the halls of the Imperial Palace. As he plunges deeper into the shadowy underbelly of the many palace districts, his investigation attracts the attention of hidden forces, and soon he and his acolyte Spinoza are being hunted – by heretics, xenos, servants of the Dark Powers, or perhaps even rival elements of the Inquisition itself.

Soon they discover a terrible truth, one that if allowed to get out could undermine the very fabric of the Imperium itself.



Written by Chris Wraight    Produced by Matt Renshaw    Narrated by John Banks 

Running time: 10 hours 25 mins


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

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Scythes of the Emperor: Daedalus


The pace of work this year seems to have calmed a little, which, after the last couple of years of craziness, is perhaps, not such bad thing. At least now, I feel able to prepare properly for each upcoming event and I'm currently working on several projects, scheduled for recording over the next few months, which are certainly grabbing my attention. In their quite varied ways, each sets a particular challenge and any notion I might have had of working within a 'comfort zone' has long since been abandoned. That's ok; in fact, it's much more than 'ok', it's great fun and it's why I'm loving work so much at the moment.

Perhaps things are slightly less crazy than in previous years; nevertheless, I notice that Daedalus is my 16th audio recording to be released in the first 16 weeks of the year - and there are more audio books and dramas on the way.

Here are details of the latest from The Black Library:

Scythes of the Emperor: Daedalus

A Scythes of the Emperor audio drama

When a lone Apothecary is stranded with vital supplies of gene-seed that could secure new generations of the Scythes of the Emperor, a squad of his battle-brothers enact a daring mission to save him and safeguard their future.



Waging a bitter war of vengeance against Hive Fleet Kraken across Ultima Segmentum, the Scythes of the Emperor must continue to look to the future if the Chapter is to survive. In a distant system of the Sotharan League, a lone Apothecary has become stranded before a fresh tyranid invasion – and the stock of Space Marine gene-seed he bears is too great a treasure to abandon to the xenos.

Striking from the air, Assault Squad Cassander must push deep into enemy-held territory if they are to mount a recovery mission, facing all the winged spawned horrors of the hive ship Daedalus.


John Banks, Antonia Beamish, Robin Bowerman, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Toby Longworth & Luis Soto

Written by L J Goulding & Produced by Matt Renshaw

Running time approx. 63 minutes

 


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

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Doctor Who: Dethras

I think I'm losing all track of time; not especially a problem for me, but it obviously would be if I were a Time Lord like the good Doctor. Public Holidays, as we've just been having and are about to have again at the beginning of May, seem to throw my perception of time completely out of kilter, like an extended form of jet-lag. Strange - but true.

Moving on; another audio release this month*, this one from Big Finish Productions, a Fourth Doctor adventure, featuring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward and here are some details:

Doctor Who: Dethras

In the control room of a World War 2 submarine something strange has started to happen. As the ship runs out of control, its crew begin to fall unconscious...


Finding the submarine in the last place they'd have expected, the Doctor and Romana are confronted by a mystery. Once fully populated, there are now only three men on board. And there's now also a chimpanzee. 




What has happened to the rest of the crew? What are the strange noises they can hear outside the hull?

And most importantly, who, or what, is Dethras? 

Tom Baker The Doctor    Lalla Ward Romana    Alistair Petrie John    Shelia Ruskin Flague  
Josh Bolt Philip    Brian Vernel Robert    John Banks Franklin    Jane Slavin Xankari/ Teacher 

Written by Adrian Poynton
  Directed by Nicholas Briggs  
 

*This title was released in April 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until May 31st 2017, and on general sale after this date. 

Despite the fact that Dethras only became available today, there is already a review - and here is a link to it: Indie Mac User - Dethras Review 

...and a little later in the day, here is another: Red Rocket Rising - Dethras Review 

* * * * *

The next thing to mention in this update, is the Combat Phase Podcast that I recorded just over a month ago, during a week of recording at Games Workshop in Nottingham. The story, in a nutshell, is that I was approached by Kenny Lull, 'podcaster master' and Black Library aficianado, to record an interview about the process of acting in Black Library audio dramas and the recording of audio books with them. 

Suspecting that an hour of me blithering on about the intricacies of acting for audio and boring everyone to tears with gushing mentions of David Mamet and the significance of the Aristotelian Unities of Action, (see Aristotle On The Art of Poetry and David Mamet True and False), it occurred to me that it would be much more interesting to have ace BL producer Matt Renshaw join in too and that between the two of us, we might hopefully be able to give an idea of the recording process and include Matt's wider knowledge of the whole process of commissioning, casting and recording. Whether we've been successful or not is for you to decide by listening to the podcast, which can be found via this link:
 Combat Phase Podcast: Episode 190  Hope you enjoy!

There's more to come later in the month, but that's...

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

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Warlord: Fury of The God-Machine...

You'd be a bit of an 'April fool' not to give this latest audio book release from The Black Library a listen. Well, if you're a fan of Warhammer 40k stories that is; if you're not a fan, then you might not like it, you might prefer to spend your hard earned cash on something else and save nine hours of your life for something else... I don't know what else... don't ask me... what do I know?

Anyway, here are some details of this story, which I must say, I enjoyed working on very much. I'm looking forward to hearing it and if it's your kind of thing, (see above!), then I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Warlord: Fury of the God Machine

When the battered and bloodied Pallidus Morr demi-legio of the Adeptus Titanicus is assigned to defend a forge world from Chaos, they find their battle made more difficult by the allies they must fight alongside…


The Battle Titans of the Adeptus Titanicus are towering war engines, striding to war as holy effigies of the Omnissiah. Greatest of all are the mighty Warlord Titans, their weapons bringing righteous death to alien and heretic alike. Still reeling from a near disastrous battle against tyranids, the Pallidus Morr demi-legio is assigned to a new warzone, a nearby forge world which has fallen under the sway of Chaos.

Here their battered war-machines must fight alongside another Titan Legion, the Imperial Hunters. As city after city falls before the relentless tread of Chaos war machines, the Imperium’s only chance of victory lies in the two legios putting aside their differences and fighting as one.


 Written by David Annandale, Produced by Matt Renshaw & Narrated by John Banks

 Running time 9 hours

If you're really into the idea of these gargantuan warrior machines, like pretty much everything mentioned in the huge variety of Black Library stories, it's possible to build and 'game' with 'state of the art' models, which are available in Games Workshop stores around the world and directly from The Forge World - here's a direct link to the web site: Forge World

There's a Titan 'maniple' available should you wish to dedicate some time and money to building what will certainly be a hugely impressive kit, or set of kits. To give you some idea of the sheer scale of these amazing models, I have seen completed kits at Warhammer World HQ and the Titan is about half a metre tall!


I'm happily very busy in various recording studios at the moment and working on a number of projects, some very much 'trickier' and more challenging than others - but more of all that in due course. In the meantime, that's ...


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

Monday, 27 March 2017

Warhammer 40,000 Death Guard




Launched at Adepticon in March 2017, here's a short trailer I recently voiced for the new Warhammer 40k miniatures and a link to the Lexicanum for further information on the Death Guard:







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


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Silent Scream...

Or, given the nature of the story, perhaps it should be 'The Silent Ice Cream'...?

The second of this month's audio releases; a fun and festive audio drama from Big Finish. Here are some details and a trailer:

On the set of a busy Hollywood movie in the late 1920s, a damsel is in distress! As cameras roll, she opens her mouth to scream and... nothing comes out. Nothing at all. It's happened again.




The Doctor, Romana and K9 have arrived in a terrified Tinseltown. A new film is being made and several stars of the silent screen are viewing it as a potential comeback... but it may prove a poisoned chalice. Actors are vanishing and strange creatures stalk the streets.





Something evil is lurking behind the scenery. Can the Doctor stop it when he doesn't have a voice?

It's time for his close-up...

Tom Baker The Doctor Lalla Ward Romana John Leeson K9  
Alec Newman Dr Julius Pamela Salem Lorretta Waldorf Jane Slavin Nelly  
Andrée Bernard Lulu Hammerstein John Banks Director / Cab Driver

Written by James Goss & Directed by Nick Briggs


"I think the hand of Nicholas Briggs as the director is evident in the pitch perfect pacing and guest casting. I’d give examples of the great guest cast; but that is the entire cast list this time.

I give this one a silent but deadly 10/10!"


Here's a link to the rest of this very generous review: Indie Mac User 


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

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Binary Succession

Dear and ever patient reader, thanks as ever for stopping by and please accept my apologies for not updating for a while. Regular readers will know that the usual reason for a dearth of posting activity, is that work has robbed me of the time to gather and express news of recent events and the last few weeks have busy indeed.

I've been preparing two audio books for The Black Library. In their different ways, both presented a considerable challenge and after a re-jigging of the original schedule, I found myself recording both books in a single week. That in itself is quite a challenge, both physically and mentally. Sitting in front of a microphone for seven or so hours a day, fully concentrating and articulating some tricky  text, along with creating voices for over 70 named characters, certainly draws heavily on stamina. One of the effects of such concentration, which I must say, I do thoroughly enjoy, is that time seems to evaporate; a full day in the studio feels more like a couple of hours and it often comes as a bit of surprise that the working day has come to an end.

For different reasons, I'm excited at the prospect of listening to both audiobooks when they become available; in the meantime I've just listened to one of this month's Black Library audio releases and details of it appear below. I'm in the unusual position at the moment, of having been given a small, but beautifully formed collection of future releases on CD. I'm wondering whether to listen to them only when they become generally available, or gorge myself on them as soon as I have time? I must also be wary of prematurely mentioning stories that will not be released for some months.

In addition to last week's audio book recording, I was also delighted to record the voice over for a forthcoming Games Workshop trailer, but I really can't say any more about that for the moment - top secret! Less secret is that together with producer Matt Renshaw, I recorded quite a long podcast interview with Kenny Lull for the Combat Phase web site. We all had great fun chatting about Black Library recordings, stories and techniques and hopefully, listening to the podcast when it becomes available, will also be fun and informative. More details to follow!

And so to the first of this month's audio releases: The Binary Succession by David Annandale. Here are some details:

The Binary Succession

A Horus Heresy audio drama

Increasingly sidelined by the lords of Terra, Mechanicum Fabricator General Kane – desperate to keep the Martian priesthood relevant despite the treachery of his predecessor – takes drastic action to secure his position.



Even as the Imperium faces the renegade Legions of the Warmaster, the ruling Council of Terra is becoming paralysed from within by increasingly petty bureaucracy. Fabricator General Kane has seen his fellow Mechanicum adepts dismissed again and again by the High Lords – with his traitorous predecessor Kelbor-Hal still at large on the Red Planet, the political status of the tech-priesthood remains ambiguous.

New alliances must be forged from the old, if Mars and Terra are to survive the final battle.



Gareth Armstrong, Steve Conlin, Penelope Rawlins, Toby Longworth, Ian Brooker, John Banks, 
Luis Soto, Antonia Beamish, Cliff Chapman 

Written by David Annandale & Produced by Matt Renshaw

* * * * *

 



On a different subject; last Sunday at 10pm on the CBS Reality tv channel, I could be found playing Miami Detective Ted Macarthur in the series Killer Cops. If you happened to miss it, I'm sure it will be repeated for ever, probably, so have no fears.

I had fun recording the program last autumn and I'm pleased with how it all came out in the end. The CBS web site for the series has nothing featuring the episode I was in or indeed, me; so here's a company logo instead...


* * * * *

Traditionally, Sunday afternoon was always a time for me to do homework and despite having left full time education several decades ago, today is no exception. I'm back to record more with Black Libray next week and in the meantime, ie now, I must do some preparation. Details to follow, but that's...

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

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Asurmen: The Darker Road

Somewhat astonishingly, I've had a CD copy of this story for several months, despite the fact that it's just been released from The Black Library. I've been very disciplined and only today given it its first listening; I must say, I really enjoyed it, but will obviously have to listen a few more times before a final verdict. I'm narrating on this story, which I always enjoy.

Some BL stories are only available as downloads, so most of those I have. Other BL stories are also available as a 'hard copy' on CD and unfortunately, several of those, I don't have. I might well have them in digital form, but there's something very pleasing in having a physical object to go on my shelves, especially when the cover artwork (by Alex Boyd and Nuala Kinrade) is as spectacular as it is for Asurmen: The Darker Road.


A Phoenix Lords audio drama

With the future of Craftworld Ulthwé at stake, the Phoenix Lord Asurmen joins the warriors of the craftworld on a mission that will lead them down a dark and dangerous road.


It is said the Phoenix Lords arrive on the eve of great moments... 


Guided by fate, Asurmen the Hand of Asuryan comes to the craftworld of Ulthwé. At the behest of the head of the seer council, he joins the warriors of Ulthwé and the young seer Eldrad on a quest to the Crone Worlds in search of the oracle Hiron-athela.

It is believed that this being holds an artefact that could safeguard Ulthwé's future, but in order to obtain it the eldar must travel a dark road...

Gareth Armstrong, John Banks, Steve Conlin, Toby Longworth, Penelope Rawlins and Genevieve Swallow.

Written by Gav Thorpe and Produced by Matt Renshaw

* * * * *

At the moment, I'm in the process of preparing two audio books and enjoying the process as ever, although one of them is proving to be fiendishly complex...


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

Fabius Bile

Fabius Bile
WARHAMMER 40,000

Reviews & comments:

The Malazan Empire

Over 7 books recorded since December, John Banks has had to create unique voices for 583 characters. Quite amazing!

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.