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...

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

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Monday, 2 November 2009

Holmes and The Ripper


Coming soon from Big Finish  Productions:


 

 CAST:

Nicholas Briggs (Sherlock Holmes), Richard Earl (Dr John H. Watson), India Fisher (Katherine Mead), Netley (Lex Shrapnel), Eddie (Samuel Clemens), Sir William Gull (Matt Addis), Assistant Commissioner Anderson (Ian Brooker), Mrs Hudson (Beth Chalmers), Lord Salisbury (David Peart), Saunders (John Banks)

SYNOPSIS:
The grisly serial killings of prostitutes and vulnerable women in Victorian Whitechapel, dubbed by the popular press as the work of ‘Jack the Ripper’ are the talk of London, and from deep within the smog-ridden slums, yet another piercing shriek is heard.

Sherlock Holmes
and Dr John H. Watson are drawn into one of the darkest plots ever to shake the foundations of England. There are freemasons, conspiracies and plots at the highest level of the establishment.

But for Holmes, there is a uniquely personal element to this new and terrifying case…

This full-cast audio drama is brought to life with eerily engrossing sound design and a brand new, cinematic music score.
Holmes and The Ripper is scheduled for release in March 2010 

  

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Herne The Hunter

Amongst his many other talents, Alex Mallinson is the genius responsible for much of Big Finish's cover art. Chatting to him the other day, between recording sessions for Holmes and The Ripper, he showed me how he'd designed and constructed the image of Herne The Hunter, a character I play in Leviathan, a terrifying mechanoid with a skull like face and antlers. Absolutely fascinating to see what goes into the creation of such an image and, having demonstrated some of the techniques involved, Alex very kindly allowed me to show this final version of Herne:



Having done a little on-line research, I've discovered that there's quite a lot of material relating to the legend of Herne. This from Wikipedia:

Herne is said to have been a huntsman in the employ of King Richard II (reigned 1377-1399) in and around Windsor Forest. He saved the King's life when he was attacked by a cornered white hart, but was mortally wounded himself in the process. A local wizard brought him back to health using his magical powers, which entailed tying the dead animal's antlers on Herne's head. In return, however, Herne had to give up his hunting skills. The other king's huntsmen framed him as a thief. As a result he lost the favour of the king. He was found the next day, hanging dead from a lone oak tree. That same oak tree is in the Home Park at Windsor Castle.

The earliest written account of Herne comes from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1597:

Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv'd, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.
— William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor
This records several aspects of Herne's ghost which is said to have haunted Windsor Forest (covering all of East Berkshire and parts of south Buckinghamshire, north-east Hampshire and north-west Surrey) and specifically the Great Park ever since his death. Further details have entered local folklore from reported sightings, such as those in the 1920s. He appears antlered, sometimes beneath the tree on which he was hanged, known as "Herne's Oak", but more often riding his horse, accompanied by other wild huntsmen and the captured souls of those he has encountered on his journey. He is thus a phantom of ill omen, particularly for the country and, specifically, the Royal Family. He has a phosphorescent glow and is accompanied by demon hounds, a horned owl and other creatures of the forest.

All very interesting; meanwhile, back at the plot, here's another example of Alex's work for Big Finish:


Dalek Empire from Detonation Films on Vimeo.


Friday, 2 October 2009

...you gotta have friends

October, and there's been a flurry of autumnal activity.

Firstly and most importantly, I must express a great debt of gratitude to Nicola Bryant, with whom I toured in Don't Look Now, for recommending me to the producers at Big Finish. Thanks to Nicola's generous help, I was invited to submit a 'voice-reel' which happily resulted in the offer of work on Paper Cuts, which was released on 30th September.


Nicola starred as 'Peri', companion to the sixth Doctor Who, played by Colin Baker in the television series. They are currently reprising their roles in The Lost Stories series and I have been fortunate to work with them on two of those episodes.

I'm also very excited about the prospect of working with Nick Briggs on Big Finish's new Sherlock Holmes series. The story is Holmes and the Ripper written by Brian Clemens and Nick is playing Holmes as well as directing.

Brian's previous writing (and producing) credits include: The Avengers, The Persuaders!, Adam Adamant Lives!,The Baron,The Professionals and Danger Man - to mention just a few - amazing!

All for now, more news from Big Finish Productions.... coming soon! 

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Doctor Who: Leviathan



CAST:
Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Howard Gossington (Gurth), John Banks (Herne the Hunter), Beth Chalmers (Althya), Jamie Parker (Wulfric), Derek Carlyle (Siward)
 
SYNOPSIS:
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...

Leviathan is scheduled for release in January 2010


Online Reviews & comments:

Herne:

' John Banks is able to really let rip with an uninhibitedly guttural performance, augmented and distorted by Simon Robinson’s unsettling sound design. I’ve got a horrible feeling that a few childhood demons might be invading my sleep tonight…'

'Every single member of the cast does an astonishing job of setting their respective roles apart from each other'  
 

Monday, 14 September 2009

Doctor Who: Paper Cuts

 


CAST:
Colin Baker (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley Pollard), Anthony Glennon (Prince/The Red Emperor in His Youth), Sara Crowe (Tombkeeper - Queen Mother), Paul Thornley (Gomori/Steward), John Banks (Soldier), Nicholas Briggs (Prefect/The Deathless Red Emperor), The Cast (Sazou/Deathless Emperors)


SYNOPSIS:
The Empire is lost.The Deathless Emperors are dead. The future may never happen.
An urgent summons returns the noble Doctor to a planet he saved from disaster long ago. But Draconia, so elegant and so savage, is in worse turmoil than ever.

Who will be next Emperor? The highest Prince? The lowest peasant? The soldier with no name? Or the Doctor himself – his life at their command? Who controls the army of deadly origami warriors? And is the truth about Charley painted on paper walls in the Emperor’s tomb?

History is taking revenge on the Doctor.




Paper Cuts is due for release September 2009 available on CD or download from Big Finish Productions.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Bedlam - The History of Bethlem Hospital


It's been All Quiet on the West End Front for a while, but happily, I've recently been working on a very interesting drama-documentary project, on the history of Bethlem Hospital in London, directed for The History Channel by Joe Matthews. The transmission dates for the programme will be sometime in early 2010 apparently, in the meantime however, there is a trailer which can be seen via the Internet Links section.



I played Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, who was at the time, Home Secretary. Above is a portrait of the Earl. Despite the nature of the piece, it was great fun to do and I enjoyed working with everyone involved. We filmed the parliamentary sections at Suttons Hospital, Charterhouse.

I understand that there'll be an opportunity for us all to get together and see the final edit of the programme in a few months time, which I'm looking forward to very much.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Mr. Happiness

So, here we are, already well into the new year and the extended run of Don't Look Now has come to an end. The very exciting current news is that in collaboration with Rachel Illingworth, our fledgling Small Coin Theatre Company has been selected to take part in the 25th Anniversary One Act Play Festival at The New End Theatre, Hampstead. Our production is Mr.Happiness, one of David Mamet's earlier short plays, darkly funny and beautifully constructed. I'm slightly terrified, as ever, of screwing it up and at the same time, relishing the prospect of trying to do justice to the piece and very much looking forward to working with Rachel, whose work to date includes productions at The King's Head Islington, where she directed scenes from Sam Sheperd's True West and Southwark Playhouse where she co-directed Suburbia by Eric Bogosian. Rachel graduated from Goldsmith's in 2008.

All we have to do now is do it.......!

.......29th May ...and now it's all over! It was an enjoyable and worthwhile project; Rachel did an excellent job with the direction and the show went well I think. Here's a review and a rehearsal photo:


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. Mr. Happiness sits at his desk as though enthroned there, addressing his mike with practised courtesy, quietly pompous, a little god. His answers to the letters spread in front of him are never actually wrong but the assumptions are unremittingly conventional and 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

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Do Look Now!


From
January 17, 2009

Top Five Theatre:

4 DON'T LOOK NOW
Rula Lenska stars in an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's chiller, formerly a fine film, about menace and horror in Venice. Theatre Royal, New Road, Brighton (www.theambassadors.com/theatreroyal 0870 0606650), from Mon, until Jan 24

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Encore!



So, on we go with the next leg of the Don't Look Now tour from 15th January to 7th March; Shirley Anne Field takes over from Rula Lenska.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

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