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

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

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Dr Who: Short Trips

Just to give you an idea of how generous those good folks at Big Finish really are, I've noticed, as perhaps you have too, that there are some free 'stocking fillers' for those who have taken out a regular BF subscription. Two of these recent releases are Dr Who: Short Trips Audiobooks that I had the great honour and pleasure of recording a little while ago. I haven't yet heard the finished recordings and so, as you can imagine, I'm very much hoping that I haven't made a complete hash of the whole thing....

Here's how Big Finish broke the news:

"As if you needed reminding that 'subscribers get more at bigfinish.com'... 

Many main range Doctor Who subscribers may have noticed that there have been three, free Doctor Who downloads this Christmas.

There are no strings attached. These are just honest-to-goodness free downloads exclusive to our subscribers. Please consider them a thank you for your loyal support for Big Finish.

The three releases are as follows...



Short Trips Audiobook: Only Connect
Written by Andy Lane                                               
Read by John Banks

Short Trips Audiobook: Breadcrumbs
Written by James Moran
Read by John Banks

For both of these releases, post-production editing and sound design is by Robbie Dunlop.

They are directed by Ken Bentley and produced by David Richardson.




Additionally, you'll find...

The Fourth Doctor Adventures Retrospective Part 1 - A special documentary by regular Big Finish sound designer Martin Montague, packed with star and behind-the-scenes interviews and clips. It's Martin's Christmas gift to us and to all of you."

If you do get a chance to listen to these stories, I really hope you enjoy them. In the meantime, many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit this website over the last year; a very happy 2013 to all and fingers crossed that there'll be more to post as the new year gets under way  -  not long now... !

Friday, 21 December 2012

Stargate SG-1

Breaking news from Big Finish is that after many months of keen anticipation, the box-set of the second series of Stargate SG-1 has now been released and is available for download. I'm guessing that the CD version of this release will be available very soon - that's what I'm now waiting for. At the moment, there's no further art work from BF, episode synopses or trailer, however I'm posting all I currently have.







Abducted by some less than savoury characters, Daniel Jackson and Vala Mal Doran are caught up in the investigation of a strange object in space. What does it do, who created it and why does it seem so familiar?







As they discover more about the object, Daniel and Vala realise that they’re taking on an enormously technologically advanced threat bent on rewriting the very foundations of the universe. Can they stop the disaster that’s about to occur, or is life as they know it about to change forever?






                                                          Michael Shanks Daniel Jackson           
Claudia Black Vala Mal Doran  
John Banks Surtr - Vey - Lop - Mansu         
Regina Reagan Wellan - Skadi - Ratatosk 
Andrew Collins Keto    
Andrew Whipp Zoder   
Stephen Hogan Olssen    
Harry Myers Soric 
Ken Bones Lerat   
Lisa Bowerman Ranne  
Paul Hyu Lt Colonel Yin   
Anna Tolputt Geror


 Written By: Peter Evans, Richard Dinnick and Sharon Gosling
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman and Jason Haigh-Ellery

Recorded in Los Angeles, London and Vancouver.

 The release features three stories, Duplicity, Excision and Time's Wheel.


Friday, 14 December 2012

Counter Measures: Series 2

An update today from BF with news of the second series of Counter Measures:

Counter-Measures, the audio series centred upon an elite group that investigates dangerous technologies and alien incursions, will return in July 2013 for a second series of four brand new hour-long episodes. The spin-off from the Seventh Doctor TV tale Remembrance of the Daleks stars Pamela Salem as Rachel Jensen, Karen Gledhill as Allison Williams and Simon Williams as Group Captain Gilmore while Hugh Ross is the organization’s shady boss, Sir Toby Kinsella.

Episode one is Manhunt by Matt Fitton, in which Group Captain Gilmore is on the run and suspected of murder. The guest cast includes Lucy Fleming as Lady Waverly, as Captain Astor and Gemma Whelan as Emma Waverly.

The team heads underground for episode two, The Fifth Citadel by James Goss, investigating a hidden wartime bunker beneath London.
Celia Imrie plays Dr Elizabeth Bradley, whose long-standing friendship with Sir Toby might not be enough to save the country from disaster…

The third episode, Peshka by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, takes Counter-Measures to Holland for an international chess championship, where the contest takes on a deadly significance.

 
The series ends with Sins of the Fathers by John Dorney, which follows the consequences of a tragic death at a funeral… one that will have major repercussions for Counter-Measures. Tom Price plays Father Ellard, while Philip Pope is Templeton, Sir Toby’s trusty assistant.

The five-disc box set includes an hour-long behind the scenes documentary, including interviews with cast and crew.

July 2013 does seem quite a way off at the moment, although I'm already allowing myself an early glimmer of anticipation for this second series, having thoroughly enjoyed the first. I'm sure there'll be much more to mention nearer the time of release, including details of my own involvement in the production.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

'tis the season to be jolly!

...and for good reason.

This has been quite a week; Monday was taken up with the first day of rehearsals for Port at the NT (see last month for details) and what fun it was. It's been a while since I did any 'building based' theatre, for want of a better term; recent stage activity has been with independent companies essentially renting a theatre space. The contrast between my last theatre job at The Old Red Lion (a small, yet highly respected 'pub theatre' in Islington, London) and this one at The Royal National Theatre couldn't really be more extreme in terms of facilities, budget and sheer scale. Having said that, of course, the essential process is exactly the same; a bunch of people in a rehearsal room, willing to make utter fools of themselves when required, in order to serve the needs of a script and hoping that they can deliver a piece of work which will entertain and stimulate an audience.

So, on Monday, we gathered in a rehearsal room deep in the bowels of the NT to play games, get to know each other a bit, read the play together, look at a model of the set, meet other members of the production team, of whom there are something like seventy or eighty, all geared to getting our play from page to stage and began the paradoxically familiar yet uniquely new process of rehearsing a play.

I've spent most of my adult life in the theatre, most of my teenage life too come to think of it, and being in a theatre never fails to feel very special indeed; Jack Lemmon always referred to it as "magic time". Whether at The Old Red Lion or the NT, the sense of expectation, adventure, joy, fulfilment, challenge, triumph and impending disaster is the same intoxicating brew. Acting is a 'drug' so powerful, that one's senses can feel heightened and enhanced to an extraordinary degree. By comparison, much of what constitutes normal, regular every day activity feels like a waste of time. As The Great Wallenda* was quoted as saying: "Life is on the wire, the rest is just waiting".

Neatly seguing into the next part of the posting; hopefully, this month will see the end of waiting for the release of a new set of Stargate SG-1 adventures, which have been previously postponed a number of times. At some time or other, over a period of several months, I think I've played or 'read-in' every character in these stories and therefore feel like I've made quite an investment in them. Consequently, I'm looking forward to hearing the finished recordings very keenly indeed. There may be more to come, but until then, here's the existing artwork:



Next up this month is the CD release of Garro: Sword of Truth from The Black Library. Here are the details:


Nathaniel Garro, knight errant and agent of the Sigillite, returns from the battlefields of Calth to find a new mission already waiting for him – a ragged fleet of Space Marines from several Legions lingers at the edge of the Terran system. With the presence of World Eaters and Emperor’s Children causing concern among the loyalist defenders and drawing a grim parallel with his own frantic flight, Garro must look beneath the obvious if he is to determine friend from foe...

Online reviews & comments:

Fantastic production
Rated 5 out of 5 by Travis

This was the best drama I have heard so far, the story intense and the voice acting phenomenal. The sound effects were also very fitting, it was like listening to a Hollywood movie!
 

Garro: Sword of awesomesauce
Rated 5 out of 5 by John

Bloody marvellous. Wonderful set-up, good twists, amazing little fluff-bomb that drops towards the end.

Amazing
Rated 5 out of 5 by Aleksi 

Words have a hard time describing how awesome Sword of Truth was. I cant praise it highly enough.



Theater of the mind, and artistic story telling for the ages. This audio drama does not disappoint.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Douglas

Simply put this is another outstanding audio drama in the Garro mini-series. The story is a wonderful tale that keeps the listener at the edge of their seat and thoroughly enthralled with the drama being played out as our hero Garro and his companion Rubio must decide the fate of would-be refugees of the Warmaster's heresy and betrayal. 



Fantastic
Rated 5 out of 5 by Duncan

Everything works about this audio-drama, the characters, the sound effects, the narration and the plot. I didn't want it to end. BL are onto a winner with Garro and co. More please!

Performed by John Banks, Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram. 

Written by: James Swallow
Directed by: Ken Bentley
Produced by Black Library & Big Finish.

Also during the very busy week just gone was the recording of a new Big Finish story in a series I haven't previously worked on, details of which are to follow. Next week, in addition to everything else, I'm back in the studio for a couple of days to work on a fascinating and very exciting new Dr Who story** - again, details to follow when BF release them. Frustrating I know; what was I saying a few months ago about the joys of deferred gratification? Just to crank up the teasing nature of all this, I have the script here in front of me and I'll be spending a large part of this sunny Saturday afternoon working my way through it - what fun!

All for now, but there may well be more to come this month, so do check in for further updates.


* Karl Wallenda (January 21, 1905 – March 22, 1978) was the founder of The Flying Wallendas, an internationally known circus act, remembered for performing death-defying stunts, often without a safety net.

** At the moment, the most I can say about next week's Dr Who story is that it's a 'Companion Chronicle'.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Port

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy and so I thought a quick update would be timely on this wet and windy Saturday afternoon.

I've just completed work on a hugely enjoyable Big Finish story with a fabulous company of actors; we really did have great fun and our time together flashed by all too quickly. Over the next two weeks, I'm looking forward to being back in the recording studio to work on other stories, each quite different from the other and offering unique challenges. For the time being, all must remain teasingly secret but of course, I'll be posting updates just as soon as details are made available.

In addition to having a very festive time in the recording studio, this last week has also been deeply pleasing because of some other work which has come my way. On Monday, I auditioned for a production of Port, a play written by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott. Having convinced myself that I hadn't got it, to my great surprise, the job was offered on Thursday and the read-through is on Monday. The play opens at the Lyttleton Theatre (image below) in late January and runs until late March with the possibility of a short extension into April.



It's amazing how quickly things can happen sometimes. In this instance, from audition to read-through in eight days! Equally amazing is that rehearsals and prior BF commitments fit together perfectly. Anyway, the National Theatre have published the following details:

Port

Stockport, 1988. It’s midnight. Rachel, eleven, and Billy, six, wait in the car in agitated excitement. Their mother is at her wits’ end with all their chatter and fighting and dreams of Disneyland. She is about to leave them for good. Their father, drunk in the flat above, has locked the door. It’s a pivotal moment, the beginning of a thirteen-year odyssey for two kids, largely abandoned and growing up in the deprived suburban shadows of Manchester, a city that felt itself to be the most exciting in the world.


I see you in the morning, on the first morning I stayed over at your house. Waking up. Watching you lying asleep next to me. You looked, you looked. It was like. I think about that more than you probably think I do.

A richly colourful portrait of a town with the everyday writ large, Simon Stephens’ Port is a celebration of the human spirit as Rachel, through sheer courage and despite an economic and political climate that pushes her into the very margins, looks to the future and opts for love and life and for something better.

He don’t do drugs. Nowt like that. He just. He really tries. I hope… This is a very big chance for him. I hope he doesn’t fuck things up this time. I hope he’ll be alright.




             There are some long anticipated audio releases next month and much more to come...
                                                  

Monday, 12 November 2012

Dark Eyes - Synopses


In a further update on this month's Eighth Doctor Box Set release, Dark Eyes, here's a synopsis of each story, illustrated by Alex Mallinson's quite stunning artwork:


‘I really hoped it would be a wonderful view... to look back from the end of everything... to see how things finally turned out.’

The Doctor is looking for hope. But instead, he finds himself on a mission. The Time Lords have uncovered terrifying fragments of an insane plot to destroy the universe. And somehow, at the centre of that plot is one, random female in Earth’s history, Molly O’Sullivan.

Soon, the Doctor and Molly find themselves thrown headlong into a series of dangerous and terrifying adventures, with the dreaded Daleks never far behind them.



 Part One. The Great War

Voluntary Aid Detachment nursing assistant Molly O’Sullivan spends her days facing the horrors of the Great War. Little does she know that a man from another world has arrived, looking for her.

But what are the strange sounds coming from the battlefield at night? Where is the glowing gas coming from? And is everyone who they claim to be?







Part Two. Fugitives

With the first objective of his mission reached, almost nothing is going to plan for the Doctor. He finds he cannot contact or return to the Time Lord’s home planet, Gallifrey. And just when Molly O’Sullivan thinks she’s escaped one conflict, she finds herself in the thick of another one.

What is it that connects the Doctor, the Daleks and the mysterious Ides Scientific Institute?









Part Three. Tangled Web

Something happened when Molly O’Sullivan was just two years old, and the Doctor thinks it’s high time they found out exactly what it was.

Meanwhile, the Daleks are fully activating their Temporal Chamber. And while the Doctor and Molly get closer and closer to the terrible truth, the nature of reality itself seems to be in question.





Part Four.
'X' and the Daleks

‘Subject is called Molly O’Sullivan. An inhabitant of Earth. Born Earth year 1891. Has travelled in space and time with Time Lord known as the Doctor.’

With Straxus and his TARDIS destroyed, the Doctor and Molly have tracked the mysterious ‘X’ to the planet Srangor. It is here that the truth of the threat to the universe will finally be revealed.

What is the Dalek Time Controller’s ultimate plan? What exactly is the space-time projector? Who will survive this epic battle for survival?


The company of actors for the whole series*  includes:


Paul McGann The Doctor             Ruth Bradley Molly O'Sullivan  
                                     Peter Egan Straxus                         Toby Jones Kotris 
Laura Molyneaux Isabel Stanford   Jonathan Forbes Dr Sturgiss   Natalie Burt Sally Armstrong  
Ian Cullen Nadeyan   Alex Mallinson Private Tucker   Tim Treloar Lord President
Beth Chalmers Matron - Kitty Donaldson - Nurse Harriet  
  John Banks Private Hodgeson - Dunkirk Sergeant - Thelus - Mezcoranis - Srangor Herder
 Nicholas Briggs The Daleks


Written & Directed by
 Nicholas Briggs



* NB: not all cast members feature in all stories.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Dr Who: Dark Eyes... coming soon

In a brief update yesterday, I mentioned the release this month of  The Big Finish Companion Volume 2. Unfortunately, the publication date has just been revised to February 2013, so I've deleted the post and will give an update when there's more news.

So, slightly earlier than I'd planned, here's a taster for the first of November's box-set releases: an Eighth Doctor adventure with new companion 'Molly O'Sullivan': Dark Eyes...


The box-set consists of  four linked stories:
                        The Great War, Fugitives, Tangled Web & 'X' and The Daleks 


Written & Directed by Nicholas Briggs 


Remember, remember - there's lots more to come in November!


 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The Shadow Heart

Remember , remember the fifth of November... 
gunpowder, treason and plot!

With a plethora of audio-drama releases from Big Finish this month, I'm fairly sure that there'll be plenty of audio fireworks and lots of plot to get stuck into - and perhaps, even a smattering of treason...

 In the first of this month's postings, the plot centres around the release of Dr Who: The Shadow Heart



One empire has fallen and another has taken its place. The race known as The Wrath are expanding into new territory. Only the Earth Empire stands in their way.

It's been fifty years since the Doctor last visited this sector of space. And one man in particular has been awaiting his return. As the mistakes of his past come back to haunt him, and with a price on his head and bounty hunters on his tail, the Doctor is heading for a last reckoning.


The pieces are finally coming together. Somewhere deep within The Shadow Heart.

Sylvester McCoy The Doctor    James Wilby Tenebris    Chase Masterson Vienna Salvatori               Eve Karpf Talbar             Alex Mallinson Horval  
John Banks Captain Webster - Starbaff -Wrath Emperor           Jaimi Barbakoff Lt Dervish
Kirsty Besterman Aliona


Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Ken Bentley  

This was such a great story to work on and a fabulous cast to work with - a privilege indeed!












   










                   Chase Masterson                                                                         James Wilby      


                                                        John Banks & Sylvester McCoy
                                                                                                         
Just to remind you that The Shadow Heart is the final episode in a trilogy of stories which begins with  
The Burning Prince, followed by last month's The Acheron Pulse.


Jaimie Barbakoff       Sylvester McCoy      Kirsty Besterman


There's much more to come this month, so do check in again soon for the latest updates...


Friday, 19 October 2012

Oh Vienna !

A few days ago, I posted an update about next month's Dr Who story, The Shadow Heart, in which Chase Masterson plays a character by the name of Vienna Salvatori - and in which I play a variety of diverse and (hopefully) interesting characters. As previously mentioned, there will be much more on that release in November.

However, in the meantime, Big Finish have just announced that Chase and Vienna are to have a story line of their own, which I must say, I find incredibly exciting and very good news indeed. Here's the gist of this morning's breaking news...

' Big Finish is delighted to announce that Chase Masterson, best known to science fiction fans for her role as Leeta in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, will be getting her own audio series as the impossibly glamorous bounty hunter Vienna Salvatori.'


Vienna makes her first appearance in the upcoming Doctor Who full cast audiobook The Shadow Heart, which stars Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor.

Titled simply Vienna, the new series launches with a pilot episode in February 2013 called The Memory Box, in which Vienna is on the run from the law, standing accused of murdering a rich industrialist – a crime she may or may not have committed. But is anything quite what it seems?

Chase Masterson says: "The Memory Box is a great romp. As with The Shadow Heart, writer Jonathan Morris takes us on a ride packed with twists and turns and farce - it's big fun.

“And Vienna is one of my favourite characters ever: the endearingly incorrigible killer we loved to hate in The Shadow Heart - completely unapologetic, even charming about her day job as a mercenary assassin. Plus, she usually manages to land on the side of justice. Vienna's quite a turn-on - I think you'll like her as much as I do."

So there we have it - more on this and other stories just as soon as they happen!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

October update: Counter Measures

As autumn turns darker and even wetter, why would anyone feel the need to actually go out, especially when its much better to stay in and listen to this pod-cast recorded by Alex Fitch?


Counter Measures:
 
In the second of a pair of pod-casts about Doctor Who audio spin-offs, Alex Fitch talks to actor John Banks, producer David Richardson and director Ken Bentley about Counter Measures, a new Nigel Kneale influenced audio drama that continues the story of the supporting cast from Doctor Who: Remembrance of the Daleks.

Here's a link and some information relating to what's in store: Counter Measures Interview


PS: Apologies for 're-posting' this update. For reasons unknown, the last three October postings haven't shown up properly on internet searches. Indeed, the entire site listing vanished for a while, so I've re-posted to give search engines a chance to re-index the updates; fingers crossed that it'll work! 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Thrill of The Chase: Masterson Meets Doctor Who


Just how big is the universe I wonder - and how many others are actually out there? A quick internet search or an email to Professor Brian Cox would probably be a good place to start in answering such a question. All I know at the moment is that the Doctor Who universe recently collided with the Star Trek universe....  and the results will be available on CD & download next month!

In the meantime, Chase Masterson, Leeta in Star Trek: Deep Space 9, has written a fascinating article for the Star Trek web site about the two series and her forthcoming role as Vienna Salvatori in Dr Who: The Shadow Heart.



Here's the link: Chase Masterson Meets Doctor Who

Much more on this in November!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Horus Heresy: Burden of Duty

Here's an update from The Black Library, which has come as a bit of a surprise. I last mentioned the trilogy of Horus Heresy stories in August and suggested then that the release schedule was a bit of a mystery. My guess now is that the information I had then about the CD version of this story was accurate and that it will be released in April 2013, although I hadn't realised that this mp3 version would be available for download now...



Having listened to the extract, my contribution seems to consist of possibly yelling a bit at the beginning (?), with the majority of the clip featuring Ramon (basso) and Toby (basso profundo). The artwork also seems to be the same as the image used for Grey Angel, although it's possible that neither will be used as the actual CD cover.

Anyway, here's a synopsis, a link to the clip and some artwork to look at: 


As the renegade forces of the Warmaster storm across the galaxy, a very different kind of war rages in the shadows of the Imperium – the Knights Errant, chosen of Malcador himself, move quietly in the dark places where others cannot. Battle-captain Nathaniel Garro makes his way to the Imperial Fists’ mighty starfort Phalanx, seeking out another kindred soul for his elite band of warriors.





 
Performed by John Banks, Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram. 

Written by James Swallow & Directed by Ken Bentley

Online reviews & comments:

Garro
Rated 5 out of 5 by Mark-Anthony

Bought it and listened to it, I liked the 'twist' at the end, well done :) Toby Longworth does an excellent job when it comes to narrating, John Banks seems to have an affinity when it comes to voicing Librarians whilst Ramon Tikaram's voice was superb for Rogal Dorn. James Swallow has created an unforgettable character in Nathaniel Garro and together with John French's Grey Angel, Burden of Duty makes for a great listen.

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Acheron Pulse

It's tempting at the beginning of a new month, especially a new month which has a much anticipated Big Finish release - well, much anticipated by me at least - to think that things are 'back to normal'. Last month of course, there wasn't a BF release to talk about. But what constitutes 'normal'? For a freelance actor like me, there isn't really a 'normal', as anything could happen at any time or, as was the case in September, nothing could happen at any time. That's not strictly true of course, but after a very busy year so far, last month was a bit of a damp squib - damp indeed!

September therefore became a time to concentrate on putting out feelers and making applications in the hope that, at some point, more work would materialise as a result. I've always found work to be utterly addictive and there's never enough; however busy I am, I'm never busy enough, there's always more I could be doing and more I want to do.

Speaking of which, in last month's posting, I mentioned that my friend Rachel Illingworth was busy directing a new play, Boards, for this year's Off Cut Festival at The Riverside Studios and assisting on Women Laughing, which opens this week at The Old Red Lion in Islington.














In addition to those two productions (and holding down a regular job!) Rachel has also started work on another production at The ORL which starts rehearsals next week - a busy time indeed!
Details on this e-flyer > > >


I saw Boards last week and thought Rachel had done a fantastic job of directing her three young actors and getting the most out of an interesting and quirky script. I'm now very much looking forward to seeing the next two productions in her 'autumn season'.

And so, October is upon us and what's new?  

Doctor Who: The Acheron Pulse is what's new and here are the details: 



The planet Cawdor. Deep in the heart of the Drashani Empire.

The Doctor lands thirty years after the Succession of Blood brought Empress Cheni to the throne. For most of her reign there has been peace and prosperity. The Empire flourished. But five years ago, the War came. And nothing was ever the same again. Now the Drashani are at war with the mysterious alien race known as the Wrath, led by the Warlord Tenebris.  As more and more planets fall to their advance events are rushing to a head.

What exactly does Tenebris want? What is the secret of the Wrath's weapon, the terrifying Acheron Pulse? As the Doctor races to save an Empire, he may not like the answers he finds.

Colin Baker The Doctor                                     James Wilby Tenebris 
Joseph Kloska Dukhin           Jane Slavin Teesha  Chris Porter Vincol            John Banks Boritz  
Chook Sibtain Athrid             Carol Noakes Olerik
Kirsty Besterman 

Written By: Rick Briggs      Directed By: Ken Bentley


Nick Briggs        Colin Baker         James Wilby
Jason Haigh-Ellery    Jane Slavin    John Banks    Chris Porter

Once again, I had a hugely enjoyable time working on this production and I'm really looking forward to listening to it, not least because Moat Studios recording engineer supreme, Mr. Toby Hrycek-Robinson, has created the sound design and composed the music - a first in my experience and I can't wait to hear it.

I also thoroughly enjoyed working with such a distinguished company of actors. Headed by the brilliant Colin Baker, the cast also includes James Wilby, well known from numerous high profile film & television appearances and Jane Slavin, who, as well as being fantastically good at her job, was also wickedly funny throughout our time together.  Joseph Kloska was great fun to work with and is a vastly experienced voice actor; I was delighted to work with Chris and Chook again and equally delighted to work, for the first time, with Kirsty Besterman.

 
                 Colin                   James                   ... and Carol

It was a particular pleasure to work with Carol Noakes again - after a gap of twenty-five years! In 1987, we toured together in a stage production of  Much Ado About Nothing and became good pals. But the nature of the business meant that, after a while, we lost touch with each other and so it was just great to catch up with Carol and work with her again after so long. 
                                                                                                Having now mentioned just about everybody involved in the production, it would be unfair not to also congratulate Rick Briggs for such a fine script and to thank 'semi-mythical directing legend' Ken Bentley, who always creates such a wonderfully conducive working environment. What fun!


All for now - more news as it happens!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Off Cut Festival 2012

My friend and colleague Rachel Illingworth, is currently directing the first production of Boards for this year's Off Cut Festival at Riverside Studios.
Further details are available on the festival web-site, a link to which is here: 

I've worked with Rachel a number of times, she directed me in David Mamet's Mr. Happiness at The New End Theatre for example, and I'm delighted that her work is being acknowledged and her career developing in such a positive way. In addition to Off Cut, Rachel is also busy working as Assistant Director on a new production of Women Laughing at The Old Red Lion.

Again, details are available on the ORL web-site: Women Laughing


It's not so bad if they're just ill - that's natural, but when there's the mental thing as well, it's sort of unpleasant, isn't it?

Michael Wall's black comedy takes us from the garden of a house in suburban London to the grounds of a mental asylum, where two couples fight for their lives amidst the inner-city frustrations and aspirations of the 1980s.

I'm really looking forward to seeing both productions and wish all those involved the best of theatrical luck.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Coming soon...


September then; the year is speeding by and the last several weeks have been both busy and varied, which is always a treat and I'm looking forward to being able to post details of what I've been working on once the release dates are revealed. Until then, I'm sworn to secrecy...

So what's your take on the idea of 'deferred gratification'? Under certain circumstances, there is an odd kind of pleasure to be had in knowing that something good lies in the near future and keen anticipation can then be savoured - for example, I'm still looking forward to receiving my copy of  Black And White from last month! Alternatively, if the gratification keeps on getting deferred, the pleasure of it all can quickly fade, only to be replaced with annoyance and frustration.

September, in some ways, might be thought of as a deferment too far, especially if you're a Stargate fan and, like me, have been eagerly looking forward to the release of Stargate SG-1 Series 3 Part Two. Already put back once, it's scheduled release this month has now been delayed until November. However, having been involved in recording the series over several months, I can well imagine how much work there has been in post-production and sometimes these things do take a huge amount of time to ensure they are as good as they possibly can be before becoming commercially available. So we'll all just have to be patient.


From a personal and highly trivial point of view, the postponement has broken my potential run of consecutive Big Finish and Warhammer audio releases from May 2012 to April 2013  - boo!
A further consequence of the Stargate delay is that November has now become a truly massive month for Big Finish audio releases which includes the four CD box-set of Dr Who: Dark Eyes, a three CD box-set of  Stargate SG-1 Series 3 Part Two and a regular 'main range' two CD issue of Dr Who: The Shadow Heart.


So, lots to look forward to in the coming months, including the October release of  Dr Who: The Acheron Pulse and November's The Shadow Heart. I'll post further details and artwork when they become available; in the meantime, this month's posting will have to be a whetting of the appetite for future releases - deferred gratification indeed!


Hopefully, there'll be more as the month progresses - do keep checking in for updates!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Black And White

Well, this is news to me too!

Revealed by Big Finish on 10th August, the full cast list and the real cover for this month's audio release, Black And White. Here's what they have to say:

"We've kept it a secret for long enough; here's the real cover for Doctor Who: Black and White, which reveals the answer to a question posed in Protect and Survive!

As some of you may have guessed by now, we've been a little bit sneaky recently about our current 
Doctor Who main range Sylvester McCoy trilogy - and here's the cover to prove it! Yes, the one displayed on the website and elsewhere hasn't been the finished article, because it gives away the fact that Lysandra Aristedes (last heard in Project: Destiny) and Sally Morgan (of House of Blue Fire fame) are back!

 And in case you think that's everything out in the open, keep listening...  "


The TARDIS arrives in the land of the Danes, where a young warrior seeks to rid the kingdom of Hrothgar from a cruel and terrifying demon. The brave young warrior is Beowulf; the monster is Grendel... or so his name will one day be written. But what's written down in black and white is sometimes very far from the truth – as the Doctor knows, and his companions are about to discover.

Sylvester McCoy The Doctor Sophie Aldred Ace Philip Olivier Hex   
Maggie O'Neill Lysandra Aristedes Amy Pemberton Sally Morgan  
Stuart Milligan Garundel Michael Rouse Young Beowulf Richard Bremmer Old Beowulf  
John Banks Weohstan James Hayward Wiglaf


I'm intrigued by all the subterfuge and wondering what might be in the pipeline, yet to be revealed.

More news just as soon as it breaks... ! 

...original details posted below.

Monday, 6 August 2012

The Horus Heresy: Grey Angel



 Listen to an extract: The Black Library - Grey Angel (MP3)

On a distant world of the Imperium, an agent of Rogal Dorn finds himself the prisoner of a Legion whose loyalties may be divided. Shackled and bound, the former Luna Wolf must fight a battle of wits with his captor, lest the course of the Horus Heresy take an unexpected turn. Will his very presence drive his erstwhile allies into the arms of the Warmaster or will maintaining the status quo prevent another Legion from turning traitor? And just who is the mysterious Space Marine aiding him from the shadows?

A Horus Heresy audio drama written by John French. 
Performed by John Banks, Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram.
 _____________________________________________________________

The above extract is from the first of three Warhammer audio-dramas in the series The Horus Heresy, which I recorded recently along with Toby Longworth and Ramon Tikaram, directed by Ken Bentley. The release schedule might not be strictly accurate, but as I understand it, the first story, Grey Angel is available now as an MP3 download. In late November - early December, the second story Garro: Sword of Truth is released on CD and in April 2013, the final story Garro: Burden of Duty, together with Grey Angel are also released on CD. Details may change as the situation becomes clearer and I'll update as soon as possible as I'm already aware of the very high levels of anticipation for these stories.

Online reviews & comments:

Excellent!
Rated 5 out of 5 by Mark-Anthony

'Listened to it yesterday, the voice action and the sound effects, plus the music were perfectly synchronised. John Banks was perfect for Luther and it was nice to see Toby Longworth back as Loken. The story was great as well, the appearance of the mysterious character at the end and what he had lost made for a bitter-sweet and ambivalent ending.'


There's much more to come on these stories and some great artwork... can't wait!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Dark Planet

I'm breaking my own rules here by mentioning an audio-drama not scheduled for release until September 2013. But I'm blaming Alex Mallinson for having come up with such stunning cover art and Big Finish for whetting everyone's appetite!

And so...

The Lost Stories, Big Finish’s audio productions of stories that were devised for television but never made, will return in 2013 for a fourth and final season.

“It’s been a hugely satisfying – and sometimes Herculean! – job
reviving these previously lost adventures,” says producer David Richardson, “but we feel that with these last four stories that the line will have run its course. These new tales are for the first three Doctors and, like the hugely popular Farewell Great Macedon, they’ll be told with a mix of enhanced narration and dialogue.

“The first three stories all have a theme – they are all adapted from original paperwork submitted by Brian Hayles, who wrote The Ice Warriors, The Seeds of Death, The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon.”

The series kicks off in September 2013 with The Dark Planet, which is six episodes long and has been adapted by Matt Fitton. The story is performed by William Russell and Maureen O’Brien with guest stars John Banks and Charlie Norfolk, and is set on a world where light and dark are at war.

“It was an extraordinary experience to record this,” says David. “The script feels so authentic to the era that Maureen was convinced she’d actually filmed it back in the Sixties. She took quite some convincing that it hadn’t actually already been made!”




In the original series, William Russell played 'Ian Chesterton' and not only does he reprise that role here, he also gives a pretty good vocal portrayal of the first Doctor, William Hartnell. I'm old enough to remember Doctor Who from the very beginning and it was therefore a particular pleasure to have spent several days in the studio working with William on this adventure. A true legend to any Doctor Who fan and truly a gentleman, I feel proud to have been a part of this project and to have had the great honour of working with William Russell.


There'll be more news and further updates on this story in thirteen months time!

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