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...

November release:

November release:

Flight. Redefined.

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

Media Content

This Windows 10 Googleblog is designed and best viewed on Firefox; unfortunately, some media content may not function properly with other browsers or operating systems.

Search This Blog

Thursday, 1 December 2011

December 2011

Looking back to this time last year, I'm reminded of the deep and still falling snow, coping with transport chaos and struggling to get to the studios to record a sequence of  Doctor Who stories starring Peter Davison. Working together over a relatively extended period of weeks, we developed a 'Band of Brothers' spirit and found sanctuary in the cosy confines of Moat Studios and the legendary hospitality provided by Toby Robinson. The pub round the corner also became a welcome re-fuelling station before setting off for home, although Peter had no such respite as he had to get to The Savoy Theatre for his evening performance of Legally Blonde. Despite most of us eventually succumbing to 'the company cold'  I think we all had a great time - I certainly did!

Three of the stories that I'm involved with from that period are currently available and this month sees the release of The Children of Seth.

In the February 2011 posting, I quoted producer David Richardson who said:

“We knew we had to get the very best for this one,” says David, “because it’s such a wonderful script. And it was beautiful to listen to in studio – I think we have discovered something very special indeed…”

Peter Davison (The Doctor), 
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), 
Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), 
Honor Blackman (Anahita),  
Adrian Lukis (Byzan),  
David Warner (Siris),  
Vernon Dobtcheff (Shamur),  
Matt Addis (Albis),  
Emerald O’Hanrahan (Mira),  
John Banks (Radulf Varidi)

During one of Nyssa’s experiments, the TARDIS’s temporal scanner picks up a message: ‘Idra’. Just one word, but enough to draw the Doctor to the Archipelago of Sirius.

There, the Autarch is about to announce a new crusade. A mighty war against Seth, Prince of the Dark...


But who is Seth? What is the secret of Queen Anahita, Mistress of the Poisons? And what terror awaits on Level 14?
   

Online reviews & comments:

'It's a great story, with phenomenal performances and production values up to the very high standard the Lost Stories have set.'
                                                                                                                   Eiphel    The Time Scales
And finally, for the time being at least , a recording that I'm really looking forward to hearing: 

The Hound of The Baskervilles

Nicholas Briggs (Sherlock Holmes),
Richard Earl (Dr Watson),  
Samuel Clemens (Sir Henry Baskerville),  
John Banks (Dr Mortimer/Mr John Barrymore/Selden/Postmaster/Lestrade),  
Barnaby Edwards (Mr Jack Stapleton),  
Charlie Norfolk (Miss Beryl Stapleton/Mrs Eliza Barrymore/Laura Lyons)

Young Dr Mortimer ventures from Devonshire to Baker Street, with news of the death of his friend, Sir Charles Baskerville. Can it really be that the grisly legend of the Hound of the Baskervilles might have something to do with the case? Holmes will have none of it, but even he must accept that dark forces are at work. Darks forces that it seems Dr Watson must face alone…

 

Online reviews & comments:

'This Big Finish adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles is a masterpiece...'

'The cast for this story is as good as it gets.'
                                                                                                                      Stevo       The Time Scales
 
I must say how delighted I am to have been asked to take part in this series and to have been given such a fabulous range of characters to play. There's a pod-cast to accompany the stories, a link to which is here:




I think we all felt quite a sense of responsibility in playing these characters and recording these stories. Sherlock Holmes seems to have been in the public consciousness for such a long time and even those who aren't dedicated fans have an idea as to how the characters should appear and how they should be played.

I can only hope that the passion and care that went into the creation of this series is communicated via the recordings.

So far, I've listened to the first CD in the collection which has The Final Problem and The Empty House. I enjoyed both audio-dramas enormously and hope the high standard of story telling is maintained in  
The Hound of The Baskervilles.

I can't wait to hear it!



And just to round off this ever lengthening post (!), a 'behind the scenes' look at Moat Studios during the recording sessions for these Sherlock Holmes audio-dramas.

The particular story being recorded here is The Tangled Skein, full details of which will appear in next month's posting to coincide with its commercial release. In the meantime, enjoy a quick studio tour in the company of Sherlock Holmes himself, Mr Nicholas Briggs!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

November 2011


 In an earlier version of this month's posting, I mentioned that the 'rumblings' for November couldn't be expanded on at that time and, unfortunately, that's still the case. So, instead, perhaps an opportunity to mention something from last month.

Where to start? 1978 I think it was, Stratford-upon-Avon, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place. Peter McEnery was playing the title role in David Edgar's play: The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs. I was a second year student at Birmingham University, studying Drama & Theatre Arts and David Edgar was Playwright in Residence at the department, although, I lay no claim to having known him at all. The RSC was in a 'golden' period of work and I saw much of what they were doing; indeed, there were strong links between the University and the Company, consequently, the only real 'ambition' I've ever had as an actor, in terms of what I'd like to do professionally, is to be a member of the RSC. Haven't managed it yet!

Anyway..... before seeing it, I had no idea what the play was about or who Albie Sachs was; for all I knew, he could have been a fictional character.

The script of the play carries this synopsis:
Albie Sachs, a young white South African lawyer, was arrested in Cape Town in October 1963. He was held in solitary confinement under the infamous 90-Day Law, which allowed the police to hold suspects for an indefinite period. Jail Diary is the story of his bid to hold out against his interrogators, who wished to break him down and obtain information about his friends and clients in the South African resistance.

It doesn't happen often, but when you see such a play, it confirms just how powerful and potentially life changing the theatre can be. As a student, my understanding of what theatre could do 'shifted' during that performance and caused me to think of things differently from that point onwards, both in theatrical and political terms.

Fast forward to spring 1980, final exams looming and I had the opportunity to do what ever I wanted for my final practical assessment. Having seen the play a couple of times, the choice for me was obvious. I selected three monologues and performed them as a one-man piece lasting for the allotted time of 15 minutes. It went well in performance and I have very vivid memories of the effect it had both on my lecturers who were 'marking' me and the largely student audience who came to it much as I had originally done.

Fast forward even further to October 2011; one of my dearest friends from University, Jenny Lecoat, who is a hugely successful writer, invited me to attend a public interview and talk given by none other than Albie Sachs. Jenny had seen my finals performance and knew of my interest. For the event, his interlocutor was our mutual friend, Simon Fanshawe and as a consequence of Simon's long standing friendship with Albie (which |I knew nothing of), we were able to meet and talk to the great man. It is said that you should never meet your heroes as they are likely to be a disappointment. I certainly was not disappointed when I met Albie Sachs. He spoke with such authority and compassion and honesty; he was also funny and friendly and even signed my battered copy of the play and was intrigued and amused that I'd actually played him and spent time trying to 'get inside his head' in order to do so.

In 1988, the South African Secret Police had tried to assassinate Albie by planting a bomb in his car - he lost part of his right arm and the sight of an eye in the explosion and when he talked about meeting the man who had planted the bomb, who had subsequently sought him out to ask for his forgiveness, most of us were moved to tears. He also spoke incredibly movingly of his time in detention and described the lasting image he has of being beaten and looking down to see a ring of shoes around him, the shoes of the men who were torturing him.

As the evening drew to a close and I thanked him again for signing my play script, he embraced me and wished me well.

Quite a night.



To find out more about this remarkable man, click this link:


 _______________________________________________________________

Changing the mood somewhat, here's some artwork which relates to the current Lost Stories releases, beginning, for me, with last month's The Elite and continuing with next month's The Children of Seth:




Just in case anyone would like a signed copy of The Elite, a very limited number are available via tenthplanetevents


Thursday, 20 October 2011

October update: Counter Measures

...and finally, all can now be revealed about the new Big Finish series!

In this first box-set of Counter Measures, scheduled for release in July 2012, I'm involved in all four episodes, details of which will no doubt appear next year sometime. The rest of this update is taken directly from BF:


July 2012 will see the launch of a brand new Doctor Who audio spin-off from Big Finish Productions, in the shape of Counter-Measures.

The first series box set reunites Simon Williams as Captain Gilmore, Pamela Salem as Rachel Jensen and Karen Gledhill as Allison; characters that were all created by Ben Aaronovitch for the TV story Remembrance of the Daleks in 1988.

Counter-Measures is set in 1964 some months after the events of Remembrance, as the government commissions a specialist group to investigate unexplained phenomena and dangerous new technology.


Joining the lead cast is Hugh Ross (The Palace, Sea of Souls) as Toby Kinsella, Counter-Measures’ liaison with Whitehall, who will become embroiled in their missions. Alastair Mackenzie (Monarch of the Glen) also appears as Julian St Stephen, Allison’s boyfriend of five years.


The box set is now available to pre-order at a special discount
(valid until the release date)
on CD and download

Sunday, 2 October 2011

October 2011


And so, October.

There are a couple of CD releases this month which I've been involved with and which I'm looking forward to listening to, but first, I just want to mention last month's release of The Doomsday Quatrain. I've now had the chance to listen to it twice through and have really enjoyed the story and some great performances.

Invidious as it might be to single anyone out, particularly as each actor did such a fantastic job with their respective roles, I do think Derek Carlyle deserves a special mention. It's been my great good fortune to have worked with 'Del' on a number of BF stories and once on-stage in a short play at Theatre503. He's one of those actors who, without any fuss at all, always delivers an interesting and totally believable performance. His role as Kren is played with such finesse that the authenticity and credibility he brings to it almost goes unnoticed - as, perhaps paradoxically, ought to be the case with all great performances. In my opinion, as soon as an audience becomes aware of the mechanics of the acting, the spell is broken and one is then simply left to admire 'technique'.

Added to that, Del is one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet and as a company, we had great fun working on this story. Everyone involved was just such a pleasure and a 'treat' to work with. I say all this quite genuinely and don't consider myself to be a 'luvvie' who thinks everything and everyone in the theatre is 'marvellous' and 'extraordinary' - far from it! Just credit where it's due.

A few images now to break up this block of text. First up is the release of a new Sherlock Holmes double bill of audio dramas, The Final Problem and The Empty House:

Nicholas Briggs (Sherlock Holmes)
Richard Earl (Dr Watson)
Alan Cox (Moriarty)
John Banks (Lestrade/Moran)
Beth Chalmers (Mrs Hudson)


The Final Problem 
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Nicholas Briggs     


Sherlock Holmes visits his good friend Dr John Watson… but Holmes is not his usual, composed, supremely confident self. He is a hunted man. Having unearthed the criminal mastermind behind the greatest crimes in the land, Holmes has found himself a fugitive. But, the Great Detective already has a plan in motion. It will not be long before his arch foe, Professor Moriarty, is in custody.
If only Holmes and Watson can manage to stay alive in the meantime.

The Empty House
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Nicholas Briggs

Still lamenting the death of his valued friend and colleague Sherlock Holmes, Dr Watson finds himself intrigued by a murder case. But as he begins his investigations, a strange old man enters his consulting room. Could it be that Sherlock Holmes is back from the dead, and even now working to solve a murder? The game is once again afoot!

Online reviews & comments:

'A truly wonderful adaptation that’s bolstered by an incredible cast.'

'Superb. Simply superb…'                                                                         Tim      Mass Movement

...followed by The Elite, a Doctor Who audio drama, taken from an original story by Barbara Clegg and adapted by the super-creative talents of Mr. John Dorney:
 The Elite
Peter Davison (The Doctor)
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka) 

Sarah Sutton (Nyssa)
Joe Coen (Aubron)
Ryan Sampson (Thane)
Derek Carlyle (Alaric)
Joannah Tincey (Stemp)
John Banks (Garthak)
Ellie Burrow (Ella)


The Doctor offers Tegan and Nyssa a trip to the paradise world of Florana, but instead the TARDIS takes them to a domed city on a planet scarred by warfare. A world where everyone is young, and fighting for the glory of the Elite...

Hidden away in The Cathedral of Power, the High Priest is watching. It knows the Doctor, and his arrival changes everything...

Joe Coen, Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, John Banks, Sarah Sutton, Derek Carlyle, Ryan Sampson, 
John Dorney and Ellie Burrow
_________________________________________

On October 13th, I'll be taking part in a rehearsed reading to raise funds for Emergence; details here: Emergence  and taken from their website, below:



In 1892 no one would believe that a well-bred young woman could have committed such a violent and bloody crime. Lizzie Borden was accused, tried and acquitted. Based on these events, Blood Relations is a powerful exploration of the fact and fiction that has become the Lizzie Borden legend. Given a certain set of circumstances, is anybody capable of anything?

image of lizzie borden banner

Sharon Pollock’s award winning play finds Lizzie, years later, in the same family home, entertaining a friend and playing with the endless question… Did she, or didn’t she?


The staged reading of Blood Relations by the Resurgence Theatre Company will be a script-in–hand performance with some movement - performed in aid of Emergence's first national fundraising month. The experienced professional cast will have had a few rehearsals where the emphasis will have been on characterisation and the emotional content of the piece - a recipe for a dynamic, spontaneous and powerful theatrical experience in an intimate space.

image of lisa bowermanThe cast features West End actress Lisa Bowerman (right) as Lizzie’s sister Emma Borden. Lisa is best known for roles in two series of Casualty, Dr. Who, Spooks, Bad Girls, Doctors and has just finished filming the role of Jennifer Lingwood in Coronation Street. Also, 13 years as title role in the cult audio series The Adventures of Bernice Summerfield.

The cast also includes Susan Franklyn (Soldier Soldier, Casualty, The Governor), and Max Gold (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, EastEnders);  
John Banks, Regina Reagan and William Whymper.

The staged reading of Blood Relations will take place on Thursday October 13 (7.15pm) at The Irish Cultural Centre, 5 Blacks Road, London W6 9DT and tickets are £10. To purchase tickets go to https://www.brownpapertickets.com - key in the event you wish to attend and follow the instructions on the site.


This is an emotional piece with resonances relating to personality disorder which people may find unsettling.  There will be a space to discuss this performance at the end. 
  _____________________________________

...and finally; having now recorded four of six Stargate SG-1 episodes with Michael Shanks, there are two more to go before the series is complete and post production work can continue in preparation for release.

...and finally, finally; much enjoyment was had by all in Big Finish's latest venture, which I had the pleasure of being involved with last week. Details to be released later this month!

More news on everything as it happens...

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

David Croft

Tuesday 27th September:

I couldn't let the day end without mentioning David Croft, who sadly passed away earlier today. I worked with David on two series' of 'Allo,Allo!, one of a number of hugely successful comedy shows that he wrote, directed and produced for the BBC over many years; shows which have become part of the fabric and culture of the nation, especially perhaps, Dad's Army, which he created with Jimmy Perry.

I can't claim to have known David well and I'm sure many other people will write much more about him in the days to come. What I can say, is that he was always immensely kind to me, very generous with his time and in sharing his vast experience in comedy.

Our first meeting was at the read through for my first studio episode, having previously worked only on location with another director, Susan Belbin. The call was for 11.30 am and I arrived at the studio at 9.30 so that I knew exactly where I needed to be. I wanted to arrive at the huge table already set up in the middle of the cavernous sound stage with a few minutes to spare, so that in my trepidation, I didn't have to meet the cast of very well known actors and be too nervous to function. At 11.25 I breezed into the room only to find the table fully occupied and David Croft reading in my lines. The call was not 11.30 as I had been informed, but 11 o'clock - what a great start!

Of course, I apologised profusely to everyone at the end of the reading and tried to explain that I'd been there for hours 'killing time'. David just smiled and said something comforting and it was never mentioned again. Others in his position might have fired me on the spot.

I remember once sitting with him in the BBC canteen at TV Centre, having a bite to eat, before recording sections of the programme in front of a live Friday night audience. I was telling him how much I loved Dad's Army and he was kind enough to talk to me about it and pass on a few anecdotes about some of the cast members - perhaps you can imagine how I felt at the time.

Knowing of my keen interest in how things were done in tv comedy, he would invite me into the director's gallery to watch him direct the show, cutting between five cameras on the studio floor and having the generosity and patience to explain to me what he was doing. There I would be, in make-up and costume as Corporal Caponi, watching him and the crew, waiting to go down to do my bit..

Such knowledge and insight gave me a better idea of what I needed to be doing as an actor. He would also sometimes invite me to look through the camera lens so that I could see how a shot was being framed, giving me a better understanding of how to play the scene. One day, we were filming in Nouvion Town Square at Elstree Studios and David gave me a note: he said that in the shot we had just rehearsed, if I were to stand with my weight 'on the other leg', it would be funnier. I did - and it was. That was the only acting note he ever gave me, apart from suggesting that I shouldn't learn my lines too well because the show was like a 'a soufflé' and should feel light and fresh. He would often go with a first take, even if there were a few mistakes, rather than lose the 'spontaneity' of it.


In his calm, quiet way, he taught me a huge amount and I shall remember him always with great affection and respect. In my opinion, he was a genius, who created some of the best loved television comedy this country has ever produced. It was a great privilege and an absolute pleasure to have known and worked with him.

                                                                You have been watching...    


                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...David Croft.       

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Vixens From The Void

Now that Nev Fountain's brilliant trilogy of novels, Geek Tragedy, DVD Extras Include: Murder
& Cursed Among Sequels are available in paperback, I think it's an appropriate time to post the first episode of his complimentary series of pod-casts, released under the collective title, Vixens From The Void.

I hope you enjoy listening to this recording, the series was great fun to do. The novels are brilliantly original, engaging and funny; so much so, that I've just started reading them again.

 

In the pod-casts, I'm playing Mervyn Stone & Laurence Warwick and Nicola Bryant is playing Vanity Mycroft & Sally Pride; Nick Briggs is narrating.

There's much more at Mervyn's official website:  Mervyn Stone 













Thursday, 1 September 2011

September 2011

Following quickly on the heels of last month's update, September is upon us and there's a new  
Doctor Who release to mention:

The Doomsday Quatrain

Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor),
David Schofield (Nostradamus/Conclave Leader), John Banks (Brors/
Captain of the Guard/Bernardo),  
Caroline Keiff (Garilund/Computer Voice),
Derek Carlyle (Kren/Second Nuncio),  
Nicholas Chambers (Larrett/Milo/First Nuncio)

"When the river is gone, ships shall sail in the sky, monsters bring fire from the heavens. All will fall into a grey and endless sea, and Doomsday has come."

Florence, the sixteenth century. No one thought to pay much attention to the prophecies of the so-called seer Michel de Nostradame,
 otherwise known as Nostradamus. Until the canals of Venice dried. Until the soothsayer's sayings started coming true…

Because Master Nostradamus is right, in all respects. The end of the world is nigh. The ships are coming. The monsters are coming. The fire is coming. There's only one thing he didn’t see coming, in fact: the sudden apparition of a certain strange Doctor, in his even stranger TARDIS. Today, the Earth dies screaming. And all the Doctor can do is watch.
 
I'm back in the studio tomorrow evening (Michael Shanks is on Vancouver time) to continue working on the Stargate SG-1 series, which began in early June. Should be interesting...  

Update: 8th September:  ...and indeed it was interesting! Arriving at the studio, I was slightly surprised to be given scripts for two episodes of SG-1 which I'd never seen and hadn't prepared for - at least it helped to keep things fresh and spontaneous!

The delay on the line between London and Vancouver was a bit of a lark; that aside, I had ten characters to play - some of them human - and had great fun giving it 'the beans' opposite
Michael Shanks, who played Dr. Daniel Jackson.

Update: 20th September. Two more episodes 'in the can' and no delay on the line this time. By coincidence, I still had ten characters to play although, as I had previously worked on and recorded both scripts, I had a bit more of an idea of who was who and what the stories were about. Here's a tweet from producer Paul Spragg:    

'Second day with Michael Shanks and we're on episode four. Some disturbingly good chemistry with John Banks as he fills in as Vala...'

I'm sure I don't know what he means. Two more episodes left to record.

Next week I'm working on a project for Big Finish which is ultra top secret - at least for now! More anon...

Sunday, 28 August 2011

August - update:

In the previous August posting, I mentioned the recording of another Doctor Who audio drama, promising to follow up with more details. And here they are: as soon as I knew this particular project was going to happen, I felt excited and nervous in equal measure - perhaps you can understand why...

The reason for my eager anticipation of working on these stories was in no small part due to the fact that two of  my 'new' colleagues were to include:
 
Tom Baker as The Doctor and 
Louise Jemeson as Leela.


We recorded two stories,
Trail of The White Worm
and another, details of  which are to be announced at a future date.



In the meantime, a huge 'thank you' to Tom and Louise for being so welcoming and friendly and for being so easy to work with. It's quite something to be in a small recording studio with such iconic performers - definitely an 'is this really happening?' kind of moment. There have been quite a few such moments during my time with BF, working with some amazing and wonderful actors, but I'm sure any Doctor Who fan will appreciate why this was such a special occasion.

As ever, the cast and production crew were fantastic and, when details are announced, I'm sure you'll understand even more clearly, why I feel so privileged to have been involved.

Also of course, great thanks are due to director Ken Bentley, whose consummate skill and generosity are an inspiration and delight
'Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing.'  *  

There's more to talk about next month from BF, with the release of a Doctor Who story I'm particularly looking forward to, The Doomsday Quatrain, which stars Sylvester McCoy and David Schofield.

More anon....


* Troilus and Cressida

Monday, 1 August 2011

August 2011

A very early post on the first day of the month, primarily because my first solo audio-book,  
The Madness Within, is released from The Games Workshop on the 4th.
I'm looking forward to hearing it and hoping that my errors aren't too glaring.


Desperate and isolated, Sergeant Estabann and Brother Cordoba of the Crimson Fists Space Marines are hunting the daemon that destroyed their battle-brothers. Their only hope remains with a Librarian on the edge of sanity, a potentially tainted Astartes who they are forced to trust. His psychic abilities can lead them to the daemon, where Estabann and Cordoba can avenge their brothers’ deaths. But is the greatest threat a foul denizen of the warp, or the power contained within a psyker’s mind?



Click this Black Library link to listen to an extract:  The Madness Within

or on this embedded link via Soundcloud:



Online reviews & comments:

'John Banks takes up the narrative duties this time round and shows us all why he’s pretty much got this Black Library audio book gig sewn up. Banks’ delivery captures the bleakness of the setting and the steadfast determination of the Marines who inhabit it. He also very much captures the urgency of Lyon’s plot and proves to be more than adept at moving with the plot’s natural ebb and flow.'  


‘The Madness Within’ is an urgently paced tale full of surprises and Space Marines doing what they do best (attacking stuff with dirty great chain swords and exhorting each other to further acts of courage). The atmosphere draws you in, the plot and interaction between characters makes sure that you stay.'
Graeme Flory
                                                        
'Working alongside Steve Lyons, we have John Banks, who brings the audio drama to life, and adds to the grim, dark and bleak setting of the monastery in the recruiting world...'


'Lyons and Banks manage to keep you listening and away from the pause button on your IPod'
                                                                                                                                    The Founding Fields

'What I liked about this audio drama in particular was the atmosphere it created with its use of sound effect and masterful voice acting.'                                                                                                                                Frost
 'I really liked this audio drama and go so far as to say that, together with Helion Rain, it is the best one the Black Library has published as of now. I really like the audio performance of John Banks.'

'I look forward to hearing more from John Banks in the future.'   

'one of the best audio dramas!'                                        Rated 5 out of 5 by Valorus

'...you have to acknowledge the skilled reading of John Banks who brings it to life...Great stuff!'
                                              Gareth Wilson  Falcata Times

'... the production values on display here are superb, from bolter fire, to daemonic howls to the Librarian’s spells, everything sounds right and accompanies the superb narration and voice acting to create the perfect atmosphere for the story.'
 
   Cover Artwork by  Hardy Fowler     


 'A truly bitchin' audio drama! Awesome!'

Saturday, 2 July 2011

July 2011

After a very busy time, really from the latter half of last year, things have now calmed a little, although hopefully 'the pipeline' might yet have something in store...

Update:
...and now it's July 27th and things have been very far from calm or quiet. In a nutshell; the pipeline did indeed come up with some very interesting opportunities, one of which was being asked to do my bit on a couple of episodes of Graceless, which are to be released in December as part of the Graceless II  Box Set. Produced by Mark Wright and directed by Lisa Bowerman, there was a fantastic atmosphere during recording and when details of the cast are made available, I'm sure you'll appreciate why.

From a personal and professional point of view, July has been hugely important to me because after a two year gap, I once again have an agent to represent my professional interests and contact details for Royce Management are listed above. Many thanks to Richard Earl, who introduced me to the agency. Without his kind influence, I might still be fending for myself - what a star!

Another time-gap which has also been recently bridged is my association with Carrie Stockton and her company 2b, with whom I have done most of my 'corporate' work over the last several years. Really good to be back in business with her and I look forward to many further adventures in the world of corporate training.

The pipeline also has a couple of other things in store, one project which I'm already keenly looking forward to and another which I hope will eventually 'work out'. Can't say any more at the moment but I will post updates as soon as there is more news.

In the meantime, July sees the release of Doctor Who: Earth Aid, details of which are as follows:

Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor),  
Sophie Aldred (Ace),  
Beth Chalmers (Raine Creevy),  
Paterson Joseph (Victor Espinosa),
Nadine Marshall (Shepstay),  
Basher Savage (Yanikov),  
Ingrid Oliver (Lt Baraki),  
John Banks (Metatraxi),  
Alex Mallinson (Grub)

Welcome aboard the space vessel Vancouver. Its mission: to guard a vast shipment of grain from Earth to the planet Safenesthome.

Its Captain is called Ace. She seems a little unsure of herself. In fact, some might almost think she was new to the job...

Its medical officer is called simply ‘The Doctor’, and he’s perhaps not all he seems either.

When mysterious ships target the Vancouver, Ace and the Doctor are pushed to the limit. Meanwhile, there’s something nasty in the grain containers. And it’s not very happy...
 ______________________

Once again, I look back on the recording of this story, in early October 2010, with great affection and happy memories. The guys at BF had yet again assembled a fantastic company and we had a ball working together.

                              
L-R: Toby Robinson, John Banks, Sophie Aldred, Ingrid Oliver, The Great McCoy, Andrew Cartmel, 
Beth Chalmers, Paterson Joseph, Ken Bentley & David Richardson


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Big Finish Day

Having had such a great time at the inaugural Big Finish Day Convention on the 11th, I just want to thank all the many BF fans, friends and colleagues who attended for making it such an enjoyable and party-like occasion.

The day flashed by in a flurry of signings, interview panels, informal chats and happy encounters.
Huge thanks to all - what fun!

Also, although we didn't meet on the day, I was in the audience for the panel introducing
Lisa Greenwood, who is playing the Sixth Doctor's new companion 'Flip'
- a big welcome to her indeed!

A few images from the day:

 JB - Producer David Richardson - Sarah Sutton







 
Semi - mythical directing legend Ken Bentley (below, right)
with Richard Earl and Beth Chalmers                                                                        











Sophie Aldred and Sarah Sutton                                                

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

June 2011


Half way through the year - already!

Activity with Big Finish continues this month in the form of a completely new set of adventures on a forthcoming series of Stargate SG 1.                                                     



This is my first 'tour of duty' on Stargate and I'm currently reading and preparing the scripts for four new episodes, which we start recording very soon - better brush up my American accents!


James Swallow, Paul Spragg, Andrew Whipp,
John Schwab, John Banks, 
Regina Reagan & Anna Tolputt.

Other cast members included:
Harry Myers,  Ken Bones, Paul Hyu, Andrew Collins
and Stephen Hogan 

Michael Shanks, Claudia Black and Cliff Simon
are recording their roles in Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Released this month from BF:

                  Rat Trap

Peter Davison (The Doctor),
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka),  
Mark Strickson (Vislor Turlough),  
Sarah Sutton (Nyssa),
John Banks (Clifford Andrews /  Scientist Rat 27), Alison Thea-Skot (Sally Lucas),  
Terry Molloy (Dr Wallace),
David Seymour (Kevin),
Andrew Dickens (Matthew/Major Harris),
Charlie Norfolk (Caitlin Jones)







1983: as the country goes to the polls, two ‘Urban Explorers’, together with a freelance journalist, break into the long-defunct Cadogan Tunnels, once a secret wartime facility… and later, so rumour has it, the site of an experimental laboratory with a nasty sideline in vivisection.

What they find, in its twisting underground corridors, is something the most cynical conspiracy theorist could never have imagined: a highly-evolved society of questing, intelligent creatures, living right under humanity’s nose for decades.

But there’s no way out of the tunnels – as the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough are about to discover when the TARDIS brings them, too, into the complex. It’s a rat trap – and they’ve all been caught!

Animal 
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor),   
Beth Chalmers (Raine Creevy),  
Angela Bruce
(UNIT Brigadier Winifred Bambera), 
John Banks
(UNIT Sgt. Achterberg - Metatraxi - Numloks), Anthony Lewis (Scobie),
Dannielle Brent (Willa),
Alex Mallinson (Percy),  
Clare Fraenkel (Juno)




Margrave University in 2001, and Raine Creevy is enjoying her first trip into the future.

For the Doctor, there are mysteries to solve: what are the alien creatures imprisoned in the science labs? And what are the true motives of the student Scobie and his followers?

With enemies on all sides, the Doctor teams up with his old friend Brigadier Bambera and the forces of UNIT in a battle for the future of the whole world.

...and finally, for the time being, a quick reminder that June 11th is Big Finish Day 
Follow this link for details: tenthplanetevents
                                                                                                                                       

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

May 2011

A quick 'hello' at the beginning of a very busy month ahead - must just mention taking part in REDfest 2011 


I'm currently rehearsing the role of Eugene Phelts - a sinister assassin for a mysterious 'government' department. The play is Frequently Asked Questions written by Louise Singleton and directed by Rachel Illingworth; all details available via the link above.

There's much more to mention as the month progresses and I'll add to this post as soon as I can.

a bientot!

9th May: After a short, sharp and very hot run at The Old Red Lion, FAQ ended on Saturday night.
Thanks to all who packed out the tiny theatre and endured oven like conditions inside. Once we'd come to terms with a tricky new script, I very much enjoyed the process of working under the expert guidance of director Rachel Illingworth and was equally delighted to perform the play with Alice Havillyn and David Cullinane, who both did a magnificent job and made the whole event great fun to do.




So, big thanks to our little company, Rachel, David & Alice and to everyone at  
REDfest 2011.


Playing Peter Jennings in Emmerdale  










For the rest of this week, I'll be working on and preparing for three new Sherlock Holmes audio dramas, which we start recording next week; The Empty House, The Tangled Skein and The Hound of The Baskervilles.

I really am excited about working on these stories, for a number of reasons; great scripts, great company, great directors and great characters to play - who could ask for more!

Further details to follow...

23rd May     ...another festive day with BF,  recording 
Sherlock Holmes: The Tangled Skein.


L-R in the photo are: Beth Chalmers, John Banks, Barnaby Edwards, Giles Watling 
and in the foreground, Richard Earl and Nick Briggs.

Released this month from Big Finish:

Kiss Of Death was recorded in December and, as ever, was great fun to do - how boring it must be to keep reading how 'fab' everything is on BF productions - but it's true!  

We recorded a number of stories in quite a short period of time (end of November to the end of December) and the intensity of the work, coupled with our struggles to deal with the extreme weather, engendered quite a 'band of brothers' spirit - and then we all came down with the 'company cold'!

Kiss Of Death is released this month and here's the fantastic cover artwork by Anthony Lamb.
Peter Davison (The Doctor),
Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka),  
Mark Strickson (Vislor Turlough),
 Sarah Sutton (Nyssa),  
Lucy Adams (Deela),
Michael Maloney (Rennol),  
Lizzie Roper (Hoss),
John Banks (Kanch/The Morass)


'The TARDIS travellers take a break on the beach world of Vektris. Hot sun, cold drinks and all the time in the worlds. What could possibly go wrong?

A kidnapping, a spaceship heist and a desperate chase to a distant galaxy later, Turlough finds himself in a strange winter palace… along with a face from his past. The Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa, meanwhile, fight to escape its frozen catacombs, guarded over by a vast and deadly alien Morass.

But what connects Turlough to the ancient treasure hidden somewhere in the palace? And how far will he go to acquire it?'


Also released this month:

Crime of The Century:

Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), 
 Beth Chalmers (Raine Creevy),  
Ricky Groves (Markus Creevy), 
 Derek Carlyle (Nikitin/Parvez),  
John Albasiny (Colonel Felnikov/Party Guest/Waiter), 
John Banks (Metatraxi/Walnuf/Gunman),  
Chris Porter (Sayf Udeen/Valentin)
 
The year is 1989. In London, safe cracker Raine Creevy breaks into a house – and finds more than the family jewels.

In the Middle East, the kingdom of Sayf Udeen is being terrorised by Soviet invaders and alien monsters.

And on the Scottish border, a highly guarded facility contains an advanced alien weapon.

These are all part of the Doctor's masterplan. But masterplans can go awry…



After a successful and enjoyable time at April's Act III Convention, Big Finish, in collaboration with tenthplanetevents, are to stage their first 'in house' convention - details in the June posting.


But first, a shot of Beth Chalmers and me signing CD covers at Act III.



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

The Door In The Wall & War of The Worlds

Not often I buy another version of an audiobook I own, but after hearing John Banks' narration of The Door in the Wall by Ladbroke Audio, I had to buy their version of The War of the Worlds. Banks has a great reading voice.

Andy Frankham-Allen - writer

The Books of Babel: Senlin Ascends, Arm of The Sphinx & The Hod King

Mr. Banks does superb work, and I recommend the audiobooks wholeheartedly!

Josiah Bancroft - writer

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

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