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

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, 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! 


Friday, 14 September 2018

Key of Infinity

Good morning! Welcome to today's posting, which features a collection of short 'commuter length' audio dramas from The Black Library. These stories were originally released as individual downloads and are available now, for the first time, on CD.

I realise that over recent months, the majority of releases featured here have been from the Black Library, either in the form of audio drama or solo audio books. These stories and indeed, the whole world of Warhammer, might not be your thing. Have no fear! I think, by the end of the year, the balance might well have shifted and the updates here, will go off in quite a different direction.

In the meantime, there are more releases to come from Games Workshop and I have just received an advance copy of a major November release, which I'm very keen to listen to. What I can say now, is that the cover artwork is quite stunning and I look forward to sharing images here as soon as they become available.

The 'crazy phase' of recording continues apace. This week is a very welcome prep week; I shall be recording a new book every week now till early October. Last week's audio book recording had 251 named characters, though mercifully, not all of them had a speaking part! When finally edited, that particular book, (880 pages), might have a running length around the 30 hour mark - roughly the length of three average audio books. We recorded it over five and a half days, at a little over five hours of recorded material per day, which, believe me, is quite a brutal pace, especially when continually switching beween narrator and character voices in multi-character conversations. Two of the next three books are of about the same length, so having a couple of days to prep is, as I say, very welcome!

If my voice and me make through the next few weeks, there will be a short time to prepare for the next audio book, scheduled for an early November recording and about which, I am very excited indeed. I look forward to telling you much more about it as soon as I'm allowed!

In the meantime:
  

The Key of Infinity & Other Stories

Warhammer 40,000



In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. But war is waged in many ways. From the dark places where 10,000-year-old psychic warriors interrogate living machines from a time before man, to a treacherous assassination plot that could bring an end to a centuries-old legacy of honour, to relic hunters who want to wrest secrets from a plague-ridden traitor or cross swords with a sinister Chaplain of the Dark Angels, this collection of four audio dramas showcases battles of the mind and spirit in which the victors will be those with the strength to prevail against not only their foes but their own weaknesses.

Key of Infinity by John French

Thousand Sons sorcerer Ahzek Ahriman studies an ancient construct of the necrontyr race - but the necron is studying him right back and has plans of its own....

Running time: 18 minutes. Performed by John Banks, Steve Conlin, Jonathan Keeble and Saul Reichlin.

The Assassination of Gabriel Seth by Andy Smillie

Gabriel Seth, Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers, has made many enemies in his long years defending the Imperium - and now they plot against him, planning his death. But Seth will not be taken down so easily....

Running time: 23 minutes. Performed by John Banks, Tim Bruce, Steve Conlin and Andrew Wincott.

Heart of Decay by Ben Counter

Two heroes of the Relictors Space Marine Chapter interrogate a prisoner - a hideous servant of the Dark Gods, a Traitor Astartes of the Death Guard.

Running time 28 minutes. Performed by John Banks, Matthew Hunt and Toby Longworth.

The Rage of Asmodai by C Z Dunn

Captain Vidarna of the Relictors finds a mission to capture a Chaos artefact complicated by Dark Angels Chaplain Asmodai, who has his own sinister mission.

Running time: 25 minutes. Performed by John Banks, Steve Conlin, Jonathan Keeble, Toby Longworth and Saul Reichlin.

Produced by Matt Renshaw
 
©2018 Games Workshop Limited (P)2018 Games Workshop Limited

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

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Silent Souls...

Apologies again, for yet another lightning quick update; same excuse - crazy busy - (come November/December you might see what I mean!) - so a couple of very recent releases from The Black Library, which, as ever, I hope you enjoy!

The Lords Of Silence

A Warhammer 40,000 novel

The galaxy has changed. Armies of Chaos march across the Dark Imperium, among them the Death Guard, servants of the Plague God. But shadows of the past haunt these traitors…


The Cadian Gate is broken, and the Imperium is riven in two. The might of the Traitor Legions, kept shackled for millennia behind walls of iron and sorcery, has been unleashed on a darkening galaxy. Among those seeking vengeance on the Corpse Emperor’s faltering realm are the Death Guard, once proud crusaders of the Legiones Astartes, now debased creatures of terror and contagion.

Mighty warbands carve bloody paths through the void, answering their lord primarch’s call to war. And yet for all their dread might in arms, there is no escape from the vicious legacies of the past, ones that will pursue them from the ruined daemon-worlds of the Eye of Terror and out into the smouldering wastes of the Imperium Nihilus.

Written by Chris Wraight, Produced by Kylia Whitehead & Narrated by John Banks

Running length: 10 hours - 10 minutes


Raven Guard: Soulbound

A Raven Guard audio drama

On Delephron, a mag-train hurtles through the desert. Within its confines lies hidden a message that could bring the Raven Guard into such ill repute it would risk its very survival…


On Delephron, an immense mag-train hurtles through desert. Within its metal confines there lies hidden a message, one that could bring the Raven Guard into such ill repute it would risk its very survival. Only the Shadowmasters, the finest of the Chapter’s elite have the skill to infiltrate the high-speeding mag-lev and extract the message before their presence is known.

But dark forces stir against them, servants of the Plague God intent on their own fell purpose. And who is the Inquisitor Bledheim and what could he possibly know to inflict such a deadly blow to the sons of Corax?

 John Banks, Tim Bentinck, Steve Conlin, Emma Gregory, Matthew Hunt & Toby Longworth

Written by George Mann & Produced by Matthew Renshaw

I love the artwork for both these stories; I've added a few more images below for good measure. 




Lots more to come, but for the moment, alas. that's ...

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


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Faker!

The third and final episode of Prophets of Waaagh, released entirely for your enjoyment!

The Waaagh! Faker

Part 3 of Prophets of Waaagh!

The greenskins have gathered to start the Waaagh! and bash things up. But when a trap is sprung, Uggrim's boyz have to team up with their rivals to fight their way out.


The latest adventure for the Red Sunz mekmob concludes in the final instalment of a three-part audio drama! A horde of orks are gathering from all over the planet have made their way to a salt lake camp. But they discover the Waaagh! is a false one set up by the Imperium using psychic technology to lure the orks into a trap. Uggrim and his biggest rival Grimgutz must work together to fight their way out.

Performed by Tom Alexander, John Banks, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Matthew Hunt, 
Jonathan Keeble, David Seddon & Joe Shire

Written by Guy Haley & Produced by Matt Renshaw

* * * * *

Currently in a 'prep week' and about to start recording the fifth of The Niccolo Books, by Dorothy Dunnett, next week. Very tempting to regard this as 'time off', though time is ticking and the next book is almost 900 pages long! Discipline JB, discipline!

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

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Lords of Terra

Week seven, audio book seven; an early start in the morning to continue this week's book and it's already late. So before sleep claims me, there's just time to post details of some Black Library stuff released earlier this week:

The Lords of Terra

The primarchs – and the Emperor’s closest ally, the mysterious Malcador – star in three audio tales that lay bare their ambitions.



 
As the Imperium of Mankind spreads across the galaxy, bringing all of humanity into its embrace, the advance is spearheaded by the primarchs, superhuman sons of the immortal Emperor. Each of these heroes is a warrior born and a leader bred, but darkness lurks in the hearts of some and threatens to tear apart all that they have worked to build.

This audio drama anthology contains three full cast tales, starring the primarchs Konrad Curze, better known as the sinister Night Haunter, and Perturabo, the Lord of Iron. In both stories, the seed of treachery in their hearts threatens to derail their efforts to bring unity to the nascent Imperium. In addition, one story focuses on the mysterious Malcador the Sigillite, the Emperor's closest ally and confidante, as he tells secrets to a dying friend.

First Lord of the Imperium by L J Goulding
Stone and Iron by Robbie MacNiven
A Lesson in Darkness by Ian St Martin

Performed by John Banks, Tim Bruce, Beth Chalmers, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Jenny Funnell, Matthew Hunt, Jonathan Keeble, Toby Longworth and Andrew Wincott

Produced by Matt Renshaw

Total running time 1 hour and 13 minutes

* * * * *

Bozgat's Big Adventure

Trapped alone (well apart from Frikk the grot, but he doesn't count, does he?), the mek Bozgat must find himself to safety – after he deals with a band of rebellious grots…


The latest adventure for the Red Sunz mekmob continues in the second part of a three-part audio drama! Bozgat, the smallest of the meks, runs out of fuel for his bike and is separated from the crew. Lost alone with Frikk the grot, he stumbles across a trading outpost deep in the desert and finds himself in trouble with a bunch of rebellious gretchin. Can Frikk save the day?

Written by Guy Haley

Performed by Tom Alexander, John Banks, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Matthew Hunt, Jonathan Keeble, David Seddon & Joe Shire

 Produced by Matt Renshaw

Running time 22 minutes 

...and finally:

Not the usual kind of voice I have to come up with for The Black Library, but now that it's all done, I think it works well - phew!



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

Thursday, 2 August 2018

This meenz Waaagh!!!

Good afternoon!

Having completed recording on this week's book, along with some very interesting voice over and audio drama stuff, I now have a small 'window' of time, during which, I am trying to catch up with 'life', before starting prep for next week's book. And so, I can squeeze in the mention of a recording released earlier this week from The Black Library, details of which appear below:

Prophets of Waaagh!: The End of Daze

Part 1 of Prophets of Waaagh!

Stranded on a backwater world, Uggrim and his Red Sunz embark on a new adventure after their Stompa is attacked by a horde of snotlings – could it be a portent of a new Waaagh!?


The Red Sunz Meks are back! Uggrim, Snikgob, Bozgat, Talker the Madboy and Frikk the grot return. Their space hulk knocked out of the sky following the Great Rift, the boyz have fallen on hard times. Stranded on yet another backwater world, they are locked in an endless series of skirmishes over diminishing supplies with rival Mek Grimgutz.

When Fat Mork is beset by an invasion of snotlings, attacked by ork Wildboyz and Talker the Madboy goes a bit nuts, the boyz reckon a Waaagh is coming. Uggrim and his mekboys set out to join it.

Written by Guy Haley & Produced by Matt Renshaw

Performed by:

 Tom Alexander, John Banks, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Matthew Hunt, Jonathan Keeble, David Seddon & Joe Shire

Running time 21 minutes.

This short 'commuter length' audio drama, was almost too much fun to record and there are two more episodes to come. Although I'm principally playing a character called 'Mek Grimgutz', I confess to being strangely proud of my performance as one of the two Grots, who inevitably 'bite the dust' early on in proceedings; I think it's the very high pitched squeal I emit on point of death - don't know where it came from and didn't know I could actually make a sound like that! I'll highlight the character on my CV... maybe.

PS: there's also this:


...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