ASSASSIN'S CREED

ASSASSIN'S CREED
January 2017
"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."

audible.co.uk 2018

Coming in November...

Coming in November...

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 more than 250* audio-drama stories for Big Finish Productions and The Black Library/Games Workshop, details of which can be found in the postings below.


There are also details listed here of the 150* 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 October 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...

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Saturday, 10 November 2018

Sacrosanct and Other Stories

I have always been a great fan of 'the short story'; it's quite a skill to relate a fully developed narrative, complete with engaging characters and a credible 'through line' and to achieve this within the strictures of the short story format. I've thoroughly enjoyed the various Black Library short story anthologies I've so far recorded and was delighted to be asked to record this latest collection. It's an enjoyable challenge to create so many varied character voices for such stories; producer Kylia Whitehead and I had great fun with this collection and should you choose to give it a listen, I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we did.

This anthology is quite useful as an introduction to the Age of Sigmar; here are some details:


Within this book you will find Sacrosanct, a fantastic new novella from C L Werner…




A restless menace threatens the town of Wyrmditt. Stirred from his grave by fell magic, Sabrodt, the Shrouded King, seeks dominion over the kingdom he failed to claim in life. So great is the terror inflicted upon the lands by Sabrodt and his nighthaunts that Sigmar, God-King, sends a retinue of his warriors most skilled in the art of Azyrite magic to liberate the town.

The Stormcast Eternals of the Sacrosanct Chamber are warrior-wizards, imbued with arcane knowledge and the power to wield the energies of the storm in battle. Leading the retinue is Knight-Incantor Arnhault, a formidable mage who has studied the histories of Sabrodt's kingdom. But the fight against the Shrouded King will challenge Arnhault's mettle like none other – especially when he discovers that the Undead knows more about his past than he does.

Also within this book are a host of short stories, giving you a flavour of the many warring armies that exist in the worlds of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.


The Dance of the Skulls by David Annandale
Great Red by David Guymer
The Sands of Grief & The Volturung Road by Guy Haley
Callis & Toll: The Old Ways by Nick Horth
A Dirge of Dust and Steel, Auction of Blood & The Prisoner of the Black Sun by Josh Reynolds
Wrathspring by Andy Clark
Sacrosanct, Shiprats & The Witch Takers by C L Werner


 Produced by Kylia Whitehead & Performed by John Banks

12 stories - overall running time: 15 hours 17 minutes

©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited


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

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Realmslayer

Good morning and thanks for stopping by! The impending release of the box set audio drama, Realmslayer, now available, has been an open secret for some time and if anything, the 'progressive' nature of the release has possibly generated more interest than had it been issued in the regular way; ie, as a bit of a surprise.

I think from an internal Black Library viewpoint, Realmslayer represents a ramping up of their committment to the audio element of the business, which seems to be increasingly of interest to an ever growing audience. Good news indeed!

Over the decade or so of my audio adventures as an actor, I've been privileged to work with some remarkable people and it's always an interesting experience to find oneself working alongside someone who, perhaps, has been known and often admired throughout one's life. That's certainly the case for me with Realmslayer and it's lead actor, Brian Blessed.

Brian comes from the same part of the country as I do, between Doncaster and Sheffield and hearing his voice in Z Cars, in which he famously played policeman 'Fancy' Smith, was the first time I remember hearing my native accent on television; I was probably around five or six when the series featuring Fancy was being broadcast and such a seemingly trivial thing, actually had a huge impact on me. Fifty odd years later and there we were, having lunch together and talking about exactly that. Brian is a tremendous raconteur and all it took to launch our conversation was for me to say, quite gently, perhaps tentatively: "Z -Victor One to BD" - the character's police call sign - and he was off!

I was of course, delighted to be asked, (having submitted my audition samples!) by Matt Renshaw to join the cast of Realmslayer and play the part of Snorri Nosebiter, and old pal of Gotrek Gurnisson, Brian's character. It was fun; it was great fun - and despite having recieved an advance copy of the magnificently produced box set, my deferred gratification approach to these things means that I can now, finally, actually listen to it all!

Here are some details and an interesting, (I hope!) 'making of' and interview video:

Realmslayer: A Gotrek Gurnisson Series

A Gotrek Gurnisson audio drama boxed set



The Slayer returns. Spat out of the Realm of Chaos after an eternity of battle, Gotrek Gurnisson finds himself in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Mortal Realms. With no axe, no oaths and no Felix, he sets out to find his place in this new universe…

Gotrek Gurnisson was the greatest monster slayer of the age, who met his doom at the End Times. The heroic duardin stepped forth into the Realm of Chaos to fight the daemons gnawing at the world's ending and satisfy his death oath, leaving behind his companion Felix Jaeger.

Now Gotrek has returned, having outlived the old gods and the Old World. Spat from the ruinous depths with his redemption unfulfilled, he emerges into the Mortal Realms, a strange new world where gods walk the earth and dark forces are ascendant. Nothing is as he remembers. His oaths are dust, and the lands are torn asunder by Chaos.

Yet when Gotrek learns of human champions being elevated to immortality for Sigmar’s fight against this darkness, the so-called 'Stormcast Eternals', he knows why fate has brought him into this new age.

To find Felix. For only then can he find the peace in death he seeks. But is there more to Gotrek's apotheosis than even he can fathom? Has he truly been chosen by Grimnir and for what purpose?


Running time 4 hours and 15 minutes

5 hours and 28 minutes in total

Performed by:


Brian Blessed as Gotrek Gurnisson, John Banks, Steve Conlin, Vanessa Donovan, Matthew Hunt, Jonathan Keeble,      Toby Longworth, Connie M'Gadzah, Penelope Rawlins, David Seddon, Joe Shire & Andrew Wincott

Written By David Guymer and Produced by Matt Renshaw




©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited


Before wrapping up this post, a quick online search has come up with a couple of images and some biographical details of my character, Snorri Nosebiter; this is my 'favourite' rendering of him:


...yes, those are nails he's driven into his head; tough guy huh?

* * * * *

The very busy phase of my very busy summer and autumn recording shedule, does now have at least a welcome pause coming up. By the end of this coming week, I need to finish recording my current audio book, start recording another and complete it by Friday. So another Sunday of homework to prepare for another intensive week in the studio and then almost a whole week of prep before the next book, scheduled to record mid November - phew! Which means of course... 

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

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Just in time for Halloween...

...though much more horrific than anything Hollywood might have come up with. This meticulously researched book by Paul Simpson was released yesterday and here are some details:

"There are many myths about serial killers: that they are all dysfunctional loners; all white males; only motivated by sex; that they all travel and operate across a wide area; cannot stop killing; are all insane, or evil geniuses; and that they all want to get caught.

Of course, there are some serial killers who fit into these categories, but the married Green River Killer was not a dysfunctional loner; there are plenty of female and non-Caucasian serial killers; Dr Harold Shipman was certainly not motivated by sex; many serial killings (such as the Ipswich prostitute murders carried out by Steve Wright) happen within a confined area; and the BTK Killer, Dennis Rader, stopped killing in 1991 but wasn't caught until 14 years later. Many serial killers may have a low animal cunning or be 'street smart', but few of them are Mensa-level geniuses.

Each of the 30 cases covered here is unusual in some respect, perhaps in the way in which the killer carried out their crimes, the choice of victims, the way in which they were apprehended, or the method of their execution.

The cases are presented alphabetically by country - from Australia via Colombia, Great Britain, Indonesia, Iran, South Africa and elsewhere to the United States - and then chronologically. They come from across history and from all over the world. The author has gone back as far as possible to contemporary source material - newspaper accounts, trial evidence, interviews with perpetrators or survivors - rather than rely on the increasingly blurred truth to be found online and in far too many collections." 


©2018 Paul Simpson (P)2018 Little, Brown Book Group

Written by Paul Simpson, Produced by Neil Gardner & Narrated by John Banks

Running time: 12hours - 25 minutes

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

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Prophets of Waaagh!

And as a brief adjunct to today's main posting, I would briefly like to mention the recent release of the complete series of Waaagh! audio dramas. Here are some details:

Prophets of Waaagh!

An Orks audio drama

Dumped on a nowhere world by the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum, the Red Sunz Mek mob battle to survive.



When a call to Waaagh! rings out across the planet, the chance at survival, as well as some shooty-fun, beckons. But all is not what it seems. Only an ork with real orky know-wots can hope to overcome the False Waaagh…!

The End of Daze

Bozgat's Big Adventure

The Waaagh! Faker

Performed by:
Tom Alexander John Banks Cliff Chapman Steve Conlin Matthew Hunt Jonathan Keeble David Seddon & Joe Shire
 
Written by Guy Haley and Produced by Matt Renshaw

Running Time: 1 hr and 3 mins

 
©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited

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

The Interrogation of Salvor Lermentov

Good afternoon! After another busy week in the studio, recording four audio dramas, it's back to audio books for the next couple of weeks; two books to record by the second week of November, which, relatively, seems to be quite a calm schedule.

A few days ago, this short audio drama, 'Lermentov' below, was released and having now heard it a couple of times, I must say that I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out. David Seddon does a magnificent job of articulating Lermentov's tremendously difficult moral position and Matt Renshaw was a very reassuring and expert director, in this short, but complex drama. I hope you enjoy it.

I was delighted to discover that by the second day after it's release, it stood at number 4 in the I-tunes Top Sci-Fi and Fantasy chart - always good to know that a piece of work has gone down well and my congratulations go to all involved. I was deeply impressed by the sound design and would love to credit whoever did it; alas, I don't yet know who it was, but will certainly update here just a soon as I find out.

Here are some details:

 

The Interrogation Of Salvor Lermatov

A Vaults of Terra audio drama

Captured by the Inquisition, can the self-styled freedom fighter Salvor Lermentov convince the formidable Inquisitor Crowl to spare his life and take him into the Inquisition's service?


Salvor Lermentov, Astra Militarum officer turned would-be freedom fighter, languishes in a dark cell deep within an Inquisition fortress. Captured for the crime of treachery, he is sure of his innocence – for did he not aid a servant of the Inquisition in preventing a grievous threat to Terra itself?

As he and Inquisitor Crowl match wits in an interrogation, Lermentov outlines his reasons for deserting – but Inquisitor Crowl knows darker truths about the Imperium of Man, and with them in mind, can he possibly allow this traitor to live?


 John Banks as Inquisitor Crowl and David Seddon as Salvor Lermentov

Written by Chris Wraight and Produced by Matt Renshaw
Running time: 22 minutes

©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited


Should this story whet your appetite for more of Lermentov & Crowl, they also feature in Chris Wraight's The Carrion Throne, which I recorded as an audio book just over a year ago. Here are some details of that release too:

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! 

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Judge of The Wastes

Good afternoon and welcome to another brief update on an almost equally brief 'commuter length' audio drama. Judge of The Wastes has been available via the audible.co.uk web site for a couple of weeks already, although it has only today been released via The Black Library; which is a bit odd, though the 'dark arts' of marketing strategy are a bit of a mystery to me. The point is I suppose, that it's now universally available and there's very little excuse for not giving it a listen!

Here are some details: 

 

Judge of The Wastes

A Warhammer 40.000 audio drama 

After executing a fleeing Guardsman, Commissar Arehn starts to see the dead man's phantom – what does it mean, and will it lead him to enlightenment or disaster?


On the world of Solennes, the battle between the forces of the Imperium and the heretics has become a stalemate of seemingly eternal artillery bombardments. The land is devastated, and the attempts to gain ground by either side end in disaster. Morale is low, and when Trooper Arehn is caught apparently fleeing the front lines, Commissar Selander does not hesitate in condemning him to a very public execution.

When Selander starts to see Arehn after his death, he follows the apparition, wracked by doubts – but what will he find?


Performed by Tom Alexander, John Banks, Cliff Chapman, Matthew Hunt and Joe Shire.

Written by David Annandale & Produced by Matt Renshaw


Running time 23 Minutes. 


©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited

* * * * *

Apart from wrapping up the final novel in the Niccolo Books series, 'Gemini', which I'll be doing tomorrow morning (!), I have a short period of proper, uninterrupted prep time for the next two audio books, which will take me through to early/mid November. I also have some audio dramas to prepare, which are scheduled to be recorded before the end of the month, although I'm not yet in possession of the scripts.

'Gemini' had a few surprises in store, as I came to read and prepare it. The final novel of a long and intricately constructed story arc was always going to be challenging, as individual and collective narratives drew to their various conclusions. What made it particularly tricky to 'perform' was the fact that the majority of the novel is set in 15th Century Scotland and some of the language reflected that setting directly. Each sub-section of the book and each chapter heading had a few lines written in 15th Century Scottish dialect; around 8 pages of A4 in total, as well as a sprinkling of lines throughout the general body of the book - which, as I say, was tricky to read fluently. My fingers are crossed that my attempts to assimilate and articulate the dialect aren't overly offensive to any who might listen, knowing how it should sound! I've done my best and can only hope that it's good enough.

As an example of what 15th Century Scots looks like, here's a poem from the author's note at the beginning of the book:


Sum in-till hunting has thar hale delyte 
And uthersum ane nother appetit 
That gladlie gois and in-to romanis reidis 
Of halynes and of armes the deidis. 
Sum lykis wele to heir of menstraly 
And sum the talk of honest company, 
And uthersum thar langing for to les 
Gois to the riall sporting of the ches, 
Of the quhilk quha prentis wele in mynd 
The circumstance, the figur and the kynd, 
And followis it, he sail of werteu be.


And with that, I'll wrap up for now; thanks, as ever, for stopping by.

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

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Kill Shot

...aaaand - pause.

A very welcome pause is about to occur. Tomorrow is our last day of recording the The Niccolo Books, the epic eight-novel saga, written by Dorothy Dunnett, which runs to millions of words and hundreds of hours of recorded narrative, all of which, is due to be released in March 2019. Some details are, even now, on the audible website, many more will be posted here when the audiobooks become available.

So, a brief interlude of calm in order to prepare for the recording of two further, unrelated novels, soon to be embarked upon, details of which, will also appear here just as soon as possible.

In the meantime; a recent release from The Black Library:

Kill Shot

An Officio Assassinorum audio drama

A Vindicare Assassin is forced to get up close to her target when her kill shot goes wrong – but nothing is at it seems, and the truth of her mission will forever change her life.



Vindicare Assassin Deliva stalks her prey – noblewoman and dangerous heretic Seleuca Markovan – on the target's palatial estate. When her shot is spoiled, Deliva must move into the facility to finish Markovan before she escapes justice.

Inside, a trail of bodies and taunting messages from Markovan prove that Deliva's coming has been anticipated… but nothing is at it seems, and as the truth of the mission emerges, Deliva's world will be turned upside down.

Tom Alexander, John Banks, Emma Gregory & Deeivya Meir

Written by Ben Counter and Produced by Matt Renshaw


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

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Blood of Iax

Two postings in one day!?!? Is it possible?!?!? Can it be?!?!

Ok, so before this update takes on the flavour of a classic Batman TV intro (...nothing wrong with that!) - yes, two postings in a single day; not unprecedented, but highly unusual. And why so now? Well, to be truthful, simply because I thought both new releases deserved a spotlight all of their very own.

So the second of this week's Black Libray offerings is this audio book, which I recorded a few weeks ago and which I'm very much looking forward to. The folks at Black Library, also sent me a sneaky advance copy of a drama release, which will be available soon; it's quite a short piece and I had a listen last night, or rather, in the wee small hours of this morning. Hope you'll like it; but more of that anon.

In the meantime - this:

Blood Of Iax

A Warhammer 40,000 audio book

When Ultramarines Primaris Chaplain Kastor and Apothecary Polixis are separated in the fight against a fearsome ork warlord, they must battle to survive and be reunited.



In the age of the Dark Imperium, Primarch Guilliman’s Primaris Ultramarines are a shining beacon in the darkness of war. On the Imperial Hive World of Ikara IX, Chaplain Kastor and Apothecary Polixis, brothers in blood as well as in battle, stand firm against the endless Greenskin horde. But a threat is looming.

An invasion like no other assaults the broken city of Shebat, as the crazed warlord Urgork arrives to lay waste to the Imperial forces and capture a Primaris Marines for his own twisted ends. As Kastor and Polixis find themselves separated by the disaster that unfolds, the brothers must turn the tide of war to win the battles that rage within their very natures, as well as those upon the battlefield.

Written by Robbie MacNiven, Produced by Kylia Whitehead & Narrated by John Banks

Running length: 9 hours - 31 minutes

 




















 ©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited


Another busy week ahead and another weekend of final prep, together with a long drive to my next recording location; where can that be I wonder?


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

Taker of Heads

Good morning! Another busy week (!) in which, I think, a new little milestone has been passed. In the general scheme of things, it's a very minor milestone indeed, although I was quite surprised when it occurred. As I've been bleating on about over the last several postings, my recording schedule is pretty nuts at the moment. With that in mind, this week's audio book had to be completed within a five day time frame and in order to meet that deadline, I've somehow managed to record fourteen hours of narration over the last two working days - with of course, the unflagging support and encouragement of Mr Morrison Ellis, my ace producer for those last two monster sessions - six and a half hours recorded on Thursday and seven and a half hours yesterday. I think my previous 'best effort' was five and a half hours, so, a new little milestone...

The last week or so has also seen a flurry of audio releases, some of which, I'm going to hang back on briefly, until I can confirm that I'm actually allowed to talk about them. However, what I am certainly allowed to mention, is this audio drama from The Black Library, in which I narrate - and play the lead character - I know!!! 

Here are some details along with yet more fantastic artwork:


Taker of Heads

A Warhammer 40,000 audio drama

In the jungles of Aztlan, a losing campaign against the alien T’au Empire is reinforced by the fearsome Mortifactors, as the neophyte Adoni seeks to become a Taker of Heads.


In the jungles of Aztlan a deadly war of the shadows is being fought. And the Imperial Guard are losing. The alien t’au, though few in number, greatly outclass the soldiers of the Imperium and are taking a serious toll on their forces.

A call for aid is answered by the fearsome Mortifactors Chapter, who come to the world full of grim purpose. Adoni, an unblooded neophyte yet to earn his place, is amongst the war-party. As the Mortifactors descend into the jungle vastness, they hunt for a killer, one that will not die easily but that whom Adoni must slay if he is to become part of the Chapter and a Taker of Heads.


John Banks, Steve Conlin, Andrew Fettes, Emma Gregory, Matthew Hunt, David Seddon & Philip Nightingale 

Written by Ian St. Martin & Produced by Matt Renshaw


©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited



...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