ASSASSIN'S CREED

ASSASSIN'S CREED
January 2017

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 numerous audio-drama stories for Big Finish Productions and Games Workshop, for whom I have performed in over 200 audio dramas*, details of which can be found in the postings below.


There are also details listed here of the more than 100 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 November 2017)

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

Assassin's Creed

Blackshields

Blackshields
The False War

The War Doctor

The War Doctor
December 2015

The Harrowing - short story

Catherine, David & me as Gully......

Catherine, David & me as Gully......
May 2016

The Emperor's Legion

The Emperor's Legion
Watchers of The Throne

The Long Night - short story

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Thursday, 17 October 2013

JFK and The Cuban Missile Crisis

Back in early August, I was asked by the fabulous Neil Gardner at Spokenworld Audio if I'd be interested in recording an audio version of Robert Holmes' fascinating book A Spy Like No Other. After a few seconds careful consideration, I leapt at the opportunity and after a very interesting couple of days in the studio, recording was complete.

The fruit of our labour is released today via this link: Spokenworld Audio - A Spy Like No Other


The arms race between the Soviet Union and the USA was the most dangerous confrontation in the history of the world. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s decision to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, and US President John F. Kennedy’s willingness to call his bluff, brought the Soviet Union and the West to the edge of a cataclysmic nuclear war. Now, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Robert Holmes, a British diplomat in Moscow during the early 1960s, provides an answer to one of the greatest mysteries of the Cold War. Kennedy’s confidence in his brinkmanship hung on the evidence provided by Oleg Penkovsky, the MI6/CIA agent inside Soviet military intelligence. 

While working on A Spy Like No Other, Holmes set out to tell Penkovsky’s story. But, in doing so, he stumbled upon an astonishing chain of intrigue, betrayal and revenge that suggested a group of maverick Soviet intelligence officers had plotted the crime of the century. When Penkovsky’s treachery was discovered, in the middle of the Missile Crisis, he was executed and his boss, General Ivan Serov (the head of Soviet military intelligence and a former head of the KGB), was subsequently dismissed. The Soviet propaganda machine then thoroughly discredited Serov and consigned him to obscurity. 


In this extraordinary new study, Holmes suggests Serov’s anger at the West’s ‘victory’ in Cuba and his resentment at the treachery of his protégé and his own downfall turned into an obsessive determination to gain revenge – and reveals the opportunity he had to do so by working with KGB rogue officers to enlist a young American loner, Lee Harvey Oswald, to assassinate the President.

 


We had some interesting and occasionally challenging decisions to make about how to present the book in audio form. The text hadn't been adapted in any way and the difference between reading silently to oneself and reading out loud as a 'performance' can sometimes present quite a challenge. The natural abbreviations one instinctively makes as a reader have to be overcome and yet the text still has to sound smoothly conversational, rather than stilted and expressed simply for the purpose of conveying information. We also did a bit of head scratching about the pronunciation of some Russian names; for example, even a simple name like 'Ivan Serov' requires a decision about where to put the stress - Ivan or Ivan ?, Serov or Serov ? Some of the various Soviet acronyms were also a bit tongue twisty in the context of the narrative flow and as for the Polish Secret Police - try casually throwing 'Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego' into a sentence!

A Spy Like No Other was my first experience of recording a non-fiction book and the performance of it presented quite a steep learning curve. However, with the expert guidance and fulsome support of Neil Gardner, the work was never less than great fun. I must sincerely thank Neil for giving me such an opportunity and for being such a fantastic creative collaborator - thanks Neil!

* * * * *

As a very brief coda to this posting, my excitement is such that I must also say what a truly thrilling time I'm currently having in the studio with some amazing and legendary Dr Who alumni - more of which anon.

No comments:

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.