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 with Big Finish Productions, together with The Black Library/Games Workshop, details of which can be found in the postings below.
There are also details listed here of the 165* 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, HarperCollins, RNIB, W.F. Howes, Little Brown Group, Penguin Random House, Games Workshop, Orion, Fantom Films & Ladbroke Audio.
(*figures at April 2019)
I hope you find something of interest here and come back soon for further updates.
Wednesday, 26 December 2012
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
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?
Regina Reagan Wellan - Skadi - Ratatosk
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman and Jason Haigh-Ellery
Friday, 14 December 2012
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
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:
Online reviews & comments:
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.
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
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!
Saturday, 24 November 2012
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.
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:
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
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.
'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:
* NB: not all cast members feature in all stories.
Monday, 5 November 2012
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...
Thursday, 1 November 2012
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.
Kirsty Besterman Aliona
Directed By: Ken Bentley
The Burning Prince, followed by last month's The Acheron Pulse.
There's much more to come this month, so do check in again soon for the latest updates...
Friday, 19 October 2012
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...
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."
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
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.
Monday, 15 October 2012
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
Sunday, 14 October 2012
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.
Monday, 1 October 2012
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.
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?
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Saturday, 1 September 2012
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.
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.
Monday, 13 August 2012
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:
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.
...original details posted below.
Monday, 6 August 2012
Online reviews & comments:
Rated 5 out of 5 by Mark-Anthony
Wednesday, 1 August 2012
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.
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!
Reviews & comments:
Mr. Banks does superb work, and I recommend the audiobooks wholeheartedly!
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
...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
...also features the mind - bogglingly versatile and reliable John Banks
Jonathan Morris - writer
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
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)
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