ASSASSIN'S CREED

ASSASSIN'S CREED
January 2017
"John Banks is one of the UK's most prolific audiobook narrators, working for the likes of Big Finish, Audible, Random House and Games Workshop.

He is a true multi-voice, creating everything from monsters to marauding aliens.

He is also an accomplished stage and TV actor."

audible.co.uk 2018

Coming in November...

Coming in November...

Hello...

...I'm John Banks - welcome to my website.

The majority of my working life has been spent in the theatre with companies including
York Theatre Royal, Cheltenham Everyman, Sheffield Crucible, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange and the National Theatre in London.

Television work includes Emmerdale, Coronation Street, and 'Allo, Allo!'. I have also worked on a number of radio drama and comedy productions with the BBC.

Since March 2009, I have enjoyed playing a huge variety of characters in more than 250* audio-drama stories for Big Finish Productions and The Black Library/Games Workshop, details of which can be found in the postings below.


There are also details listed here of the 150* audio books I've recorded since March 2013,
including the unabridged New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, for companies including audible.co.uk, Hachette, RNIB, W.F. Howes, Little Brown Group, Penguin Random House, Games Workshop, Orion, Fantom Films & Ladbroke Audio.

(*figures at October 2018)

I hope you find something of interest here and come back soon for further updates.


For all posts, reviews and audio samples, please scroll down...

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

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Thursday, 28 November 2013

The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot

 A Dr Who Special by Peter Davison


If you're a Dr Who fan and haven't already seen this fab little film, set aside half an hour, sit back and enjoy:


Peter has also made some other very funny short films, which should be available via You Tube.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

We Remember: In Flanders' Fields

A few days ago, I was approached quite unexpectedly by Canadian animator Todd McIntosh. I had never previously had any contact with Todd but he'd found a recording I'd made with Sound Designer John Silke of In Flanders' Fields, the poem written in 1915 by Lieutenant Colonel John McRae MD (1872-1918) of the Canadian Army. 

Todd asked if he might use my version of the poem in an animation he was working on. I readily agreed and the finished film appears below. I hope you'll agree that he's created a magnificent piece of work and a very fitting tribute.
 
 
In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
  We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
     In Flanders' Fields






Monday, 25 November 2013

Time to say 'thank you'...

Having spent a wonderful, exciting and joyful weekend at the Dr Who 50th Celebration, I really want to thank all those involved for making it such a fun and inclusive time. Our twice daily presentations were very well attended by knowledgeable and enthusiastic Whovians of all ages and we had some incredible 'guest actors' on-stage to help us out - thanks to all!


When not on-stage, I spent much of my time with the hard working Big Finish team, including Paul Spragg, Howard Carter, John Dorney, Matt Fitton, Ken Bentley, David Richardson and CEO Jason Haigh-Ellery, who were incredibly busy, meeting fans and introducing people to the amazing world of Big Finish audio drama. Over the three day period of the event, Dr Who and BF stars including Sarah Sutton, Louise Jemeson, Lalla Ward, Janet Fielding, Karen Gledhill, Lisa Bowerman, Lisa Greenwood, Beth Chalmers, writer Marc Platt and David Warner chatted to fans and gave free autographs, happily signing the CD covers of work they had been involved with and sometimes even work they hadn't; I was asked to sign several items which I hadn't contributed to at all!

Thanks indeed to fellow actors Beth Chalmers and Barnaby Edwards, with whom I performed our 'Day in the Studio with Big Finish' presentation along with Nick Briggs - the fantastic Nick Briggs, who is not only Executive Producer, but also writer, director, actor and in his spare time 'Voice of The Daleks' for the television series. Thanks for inviting me Nick, I loved every minute!

Here are some images from the weekend:


 
 Beth, me, Lisa G, Marc, Jason, Howard, David & Ken - photo by Lisa B

  * * * * * *
...and a final 'thank you' to The Cult Den for their very generous review, from which this is an extract: 

"The original Holmes hardback can be a handful to read. For those without a basic knowledge of espionage, dates and times, and life as a Russian in the Cold War, it can be tedious and take an age to get through. However when converted to audiobook it comes alive. Spokenworld Audio's team have done a great job, and the narration by John Banks brings the factual to life, with large parts sounding like a Le Carre novel.

9 hours is a commitment to anything you may not have tried before, but this is seriously good. For the conspiracy nut it feeds fuel to an already large fire, for the history buff it has more dates, times, and names than a phonebook, and for people like me that are mixture of the two? It's perfect."

                                                                                                                                    10/10

                          Edited by Tanja Glittenberg
                           Produced by Neil Gardner
                                                                                                                           
 Listen to an extract from the audio book by scrolling down to the sound clips section of this site.

* * * * * *

We did all go to the ExCel screening of The Day of The Doctor, but now I'm going to treat myself to watching Mark Gatiss' An Adventure in Space and Time.

* * * * *
But before I do that, I really want to say...

Many congratulations to my friend John Silke, who has just won a BaftaKids for his contribution to Kinect Sesame Street in the Children's Multiplatform category. 
                                                                                                                        
 More news just as soon as it happens!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Dr Who at ExCel

More of a 'tweet' than a post; just to say that I'll soon be heading off to the ExCel to begin preparations with Big Finish for this weekend's 50th Celebration of Dr Who.


I'm thrilled and excited to be part of such a landmark event - if you're going to be there at any time over the weekend, do come along to the Big Finish area and say 'hi' - and look out for the Big Finish Dr Who Live Presentation, which we'll be performing twice each day.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The Time of The Doctor

Don't worry, The Time of The Doctor isn't a story, it's just a post title I made up; but this week really is the time of the Doctor as we approach the 50th anniversary next weekend. I've been looking on the BBC Official Celebration web pages and the sheer enormity of the event is beginning to sink in - such a range of things to do and such a plethora of attending contributors to the series from its inception to the present day - which is exactly as it should be.


My excitement is growing by the day, especially now that I have more of an idea of what I'll be doing at the Celebration. Beth Chalmers, Barnaby Edwards, Nick Briggs (Big Finish Executive Producer & Voice of The Daleks) and me, will be presenting a twenty minute excerpt from a Dr Who story, twice each day over the three day period (according to the published on-line schedule). If you're planning an itinerary for next weekend, I hope you'll include a trip to see our merry crew at Big Finish.


Last week was very busy with the recording of an audio book, Author, Author. although we're cracking on apace with it and might well complete the job with a day in hand. Next week, before shipping off to the Excel on Thursday evening, I'll be in a different studio for a couple of days to finish work on a different audio book, The Escape. It's quite an odd thing, to sit in a small recording suite, alone and reading aloud, trying to communicate and articulate a story populated by a wide variety of characters for seven or eight hours a day. The concentration level is such however, that the time seems to zip by - as has this posting!

So, enjoy the upcoming Dr Who celebrations and if you're at the ExCel next weekend, do come to the Big Finish area and say 'hello'.

* * * * *

   Night of The Doctor 




I've worked with Paul McGann on seven audio adventures and have enormous respect for his acting abilities. I love the work he's done as The Doctor with Big Finish and perhaps one day, he'll play the character on television. If this short episode is anything to go by, I think he'd be excellent.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

BBC Dr Who 50th Anniversary 1963 - 2013



Well, what a busy couple of weeks it's been - it always feels good to be busy. As mentioned previously, I'm currently in the process of recording a couple of audio books; The Escape by Adam Thirlwell for Red Apple creative and Author, Author by David Lodge for RNIB. There are several recording sessions scheduled over the next few weeks to complete each of the books and we should be finished by early December.

Last week, I was also back in the studio to record further episodes of Survivors for Big Finish and had a great time with the fabulous BF crew, David, Ken and Toby, who always create such a great working environment. Writers Andrew Smith and John Dorney also came along to make sure their carefully crafted scripts weren't mangled too badly by the acting company, and on Thursday, Matt Fitton put in an appearance. Matt wrote the first episode of the Survivors series and it was great to catch up with him again.


What also made recording such a treat was the opportunity to work with such a fabulous bunch of actors, including Louise Jameson, Adrian Lukis, Phil Mulryne, Camilla Power and for the first time, stars from the original Survivors television series, Lucy Fleming, playing Jenny Richards and Ian McCulloch as Greg Preston.




I've already posted some of Anthony Lamb's fantastic artwork for the series and this image, recently released by BF, probably represents something close to the actual CD cover:



So for now, Survivors is 'done' and off to post-production to be prepared for release in June of next year.

* * * * *

At the end of the last posting, I mentioned the possibility of some exciting news to come in this posting. Now that wasn't merely a cheap ploy to boost interest in the site; I was just waiting for a final confirmation before saying anything.


So here it is; as every true Dr Who fan knows, November 23rd 1963 is the date 50 years ago, when the first episode of the first series of the four part story, An Unearthly Child, was broadcast. To mark the occasion, on November 23rd this year, The Day of the Doctor will be broadcast in cinemas and on television in 2D & 3D, not only here in the UK, but also in several other countries around the world.

I'm sure there'll be lots more going on to celebrate the world's longest running sci-fi series, but I'm beyond thrilled to say that I've been asked to attend the official BBC 50th Anniversary Celebration event, which takes place in London at the ExCel on 22nd, 23rd and 24th November. Together with colleagues from Big Finish, I'll be 'performing' something live, on-stage during the course of each day, details of which, I'll post nearer the time.


This from the BBC:

Relive 50 years of adventures in space and time with the ultimate celebration of Doctor Who. The greatest show in the Universe comes to London’s ExCeL for three days from the 22nd November!

With just over two weeks to go (and counting!) the excitement is building to the event that will bring you unrivalled access to all things Doctor Who.

With behind-the-scenes demonstrations and workshops, stunts, explosions, monsters, props & costumes, official merchandise and memorabilia – it really is the most exciting celebration a Time Lord and his companion could have. Even if you’ve got 13 lives, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Doctor Who fans young and old.


I'm feeling very honoured and slightly overwhelmed and very excited to have been asked to the event as I'm sure you can imagine. As well as all the Doctors and their Companions, there will be lots of other actors from the series, amazing entertainments and a sell out audience of 15,000 Dr Who fans - maybe see you there!

More news as soon as it's available!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Survivors: update

I couldn't resist posting this incredible image by Anthony Lamb, which will be used as cover artwork by Big Finish for the first series of Survivors, scheduled for release in June 2014.


This update from Big Finish on November 6th:
 
The lead cast members of Terry Nation’s Survivors are returning to play their roles on audio, for a run of new episodes from Big Finish Productions. The series originally ran for three seasons on BBC1 between 1975-77 and told the story of a small group of people who survive a plague that wipes out most of the world’s population.
 
Lucy Fleming plays Jenny Richards, Ian McCulloch is Greg Preston, while Carolyn Seymour is Abby Grant, the leader of a community starting a new life in rural England.




“We’re thrilled to have Lucy, Ian and Carolyn on board,” says producer David Richardson. “Our initial episodes will introduce a new set of characters that will encounter Jenny and Greg as they search for supplies. 

Abby Grant will make cameo appearances, before taking on a major role in later stories.”




Survivors – Volume 1 will be released in June 2014; the box set will comprise four hour-long full cast audio dramas – Revelation by Matt Fitton, Exodus by Jonathan Morris, Judges by Andrew Smith and Esther by John Dorney.

The leading cast also includes: 

 John Banks, Louise Jameson, Sinead Keenan, Caroline Langrishe, Adrian Lukis, Chase Masterson, 
Terry Molloy, Phil Mulryne and Camilla Power.

 * * * * *

Some more exciting news to come very soon in the next posting!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Unquiet slumbers for the sleepers...

" So, did you get there?
  What?
  Did you get there, did you make it? On Monday? 
  Did you get to the recording studio; y'know, for the audio book?
  Nah, called it off; neither of us could get in. Trains.
  So what happened? "

I'll tell you what happened. I finally made it into London at about 4.30, much too late to start work - and checked into a hotel for the night - who was to say the trains would be running properly the next day? And two lost days out of a three day recording schedule would be a bit tricky... a bit tricky. So Tuesday morning, me and producer Chris Sharp, " hi Chris, hi John", sealed ourselves away in Studio 3 and made a start. By late afternoon the next day, the job was done - on schedule.

There was something about the book that I really enjoyed, technically, as a reader. It had flow, it had style. I had fun. I'll post all the details when the final product is released and as I never get to hear any of the work I've done, I might just have to buy a copy and find out what it's all about. Yes, I just might. As we were finishing on Wednesday, I was asked if I'd like to record another audio book written by the same author; only snag, we'd need to start recording the next morning. Record a book I hadn't read; an 'instinctive' read. So that's what happened. " hi Neil, hi John " And we made a start. Because of other commitments, we'll pick up recording in a couple of weeks time - hopefully, no-one will hear the join.

" Other commitments? " Well, yes. On Friday, I was in a different studio on the other side of London doing something else, with some other people, also great fun. And next week is looking interesting too; in fact the next several weeks are looking interesting - and busy. Good. On Tuesday, I'm thrilled to be recording a voice over for a movie; it's called Shadow Industry, directed by Henry Vought and produced by Marie Favre. There's a trailer below:
 


Wednesday and Thursday should be very exciting indeed as we are back in the studio for more... hang on. Sorry. I'm sorry, but as you probably already know, I can't tell you just yet. Would love to, but can't. Not yet. Then, on Friday, another audio book; a biggie - lots of pages and small print; should finish sometime in December - really, December.

And what of the Classic Doctors on Watch Channel that I've been blurbing on about for the last few weeks? Today's episode, Battlefield, originally broadcast from 6 September to 27 September 1989, starred Sylvester McCoy as Doctor number Seven (when Sylvester says that, he usually 'whistles' the 's' - you can imagine) and Sophie Aldred as Ace.

I've mentioned this in previous posts, but perhaps I can get away with a quick repetition; when I was in my early teens, Sylvester, before he became the Doctor, came to our school and led our drama group in a workshop, which I remember enjoying very much - small world!

Coincidentally, I've worked with Doctor Seven, seven times.


Other people I've had the great pleasure of working with from this story include Angela Bruce, who played Brigadier Winifred Bambera and the amazing Jean Marsh, whom I regard as nothing less than A National Treasure.

Tomorrow, it's the turn of Paul McGann to play Doctor number Eight and after that, I think I'll cancel my own series of weekend Classic Who updates, before I become terminally predictable.

To round off today's posting, a bit of a teaser I'm afraid. I'm waiting for final confirmation of something which I have to say, I'm getting very, very excited about. Hopefully, sometime next week, I'll be able to tell you all about it.


In the meantime; just to say that I'll be playing a character called Shafto in a repeat of Street & Lane on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Tuesday morning at 9.30.

                            


Written by Dave Sheasby and Ian McMillan (t' Bard o' Barnsley), the series stars Finetime Fontayne and Nick Lane, so do tune in - it's funny!


More news as it happens!

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