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 throughout December...

Coming throughout December...

Coming in January 2019...

Coming in January 2019...

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...

Available now:

Available now:
5 CD Box Set

Flight. Redefined.

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

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Sunday, 22 December 2013

So this is Christmas...

...and the pages of my Equity diary are rapidly coming to an end. From a professional point of view, I've had a varied and enjoyable time in 2013 and several highlights come to mind. Having spent five months or so at the Royal National Theatre, ending in March, I then thoroughly enjoyed working with director Benji Sperring of Tarquin Productions at The Tabard Theatre, performing two Maeterlinck plays, The Blind and The Intruder.

In some ways, I could easily regard 2013 as 'the year of the audio book'. Before Big Finish gave me the opportunity a couple of years ago to work on a series of Dr Who Short Trips and the Warhammer story The Madness Within, I'd never recorded a solo audio book. Quite unexpectedly, during 2013, I've somehow found myself being asked to record what has turned out to be seventeen of them, for a variety of companies and organisations. The 'learning curve' has been quite a challenge but certainly one I've enjoyed and the experience of it, I hope, has fed back into full cast audio work. Sitting in a recording studio, alone and performing an unabridged and undramatised text for seven or eight hours at a stretch certainly makes one appreciate dialogue, the input of others and the sound of different voices!

Some of this year's recording highlights for me include The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes, scheduled for release this month, The Avengers, which I'm very much looking forward to listening to next month and, of course, Survivors, which is to be released in June. I am genuinely thrilled to be a part of all of these series, although perhaps for obvious reasons, I feel a particularly close involvement with Survivors. It's always good to do a bit of comedy and in February, I had a fab time playing Mervyn Stone in The Mervyn Stone Mysteries: The Axeman Cometh, written by Nev Fountain. I also enjoyed doing a 'voice over' for the movie Shadow Industry, directed by Henry Vought, which is being entered into the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival (6 - 16 February) - so, exciting times ahead!

I thought February's Big Finish Day 3 was a great success, although I was sorry to have to leave early and hurry back to the NT for the Saturday matinee. Janet Fielding's Project Motormouth was also great fun and raised lots of money - and of course, the three days of the Dr Who 50th Celebration in November were amazing; it's always a pleasure to meet so many Big Finish fans.

And so, as this year comes to an end, what's next? More BBC Radio? That would be good. Bit of telly wouldn't go amiss either - back to the NT - who knows? In terms of future Big Finish stories, details are of course a closely guarded secret, but I can say there are quite a few things in the pipeline that I have had something to do with and I'll talk more about them as they become available throughout the year. I've also got some preparation to do over the holidays for a new audio book which starts recording in early January and I'm very much looking forward to Big Finish Day 4 on 18th January - not long to wait now!



In the meantime, many thanks for 'stopping by' the web site this year, your support is very much appreciated 

- enjoy the festivities and have a very happy 2014! 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Escape

And so, hot on the heels of Politics, I recorded another Adam Thirlwell novel The Escape, which is released today as an unabridged audio book from Audible.co.uk

Here are some details:

 

 Publisher's Summary

The more I knew of Haffner, writes Adam Thirlwell in The Escape, the more real he became, this was true. And, simultaneously, Haffner disappeared.

In a forgotten spa town snug in the Alps, at the end of the 20th century, Haffner is seeking a cure, more women, and a villa that belonged to his late wife. But really he is trying to escape: from his family, his lovers, his history, his entire Haffnerian condition.

For Haffner is 78. Haffner, in other words, is too old to be grown up.





What the Critics Say

"A witty, irreverent and elegiac new novel... Haffner is a Quixote of our time" 
(New York Times Book Review)
"A novel where the humour is melancholic, the melancholy mischievous and the talent startling"
 (Milan Kundera)
"In The Escape, you can practically see Bellow's Augie March, Roth's Mickey Sabbath and Martin Amis's John Self applauding, ghost-like, from the margins... The novel fizzes with intelligence, verbal skill and humour"
(Simon Baker, Observer)
"Beautifully written, poignant and clever... Thirlwell has a genuinely unique insight into humankind" 
(The Times)
"The Escape is one of the best British novels I've read this year for one reason; Thirlwell's prose. At once effervescent and elegant, his narrative voice lifts the novel's lecherous comedy beyond the sublunary lovers' antics into a more rarefied sphere" (Sarah Churchwell, Guardian)

* * * * *
As with Politics, if you would like to listen to a short extract from the audio book, please go to the Audible web page.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Politics



Released today from Audible.co.uk is Politics by Adam Thirlwell, which I recorded a few weeks ago as
an unabridged version of the original novel. If you go to the relevant web page on the Audible site, there's a sample to listen to; however, I must 'warn' you, that the excerpt chosen to represent the book is not for the faint hearted and pulls no punches in terms of its very explicit and graphic nature.

I found the book a very interesting challenge to record: I enjoyed the telling of the story and hope I've conveyed the essence of the narrative effectively - I'll have to buy a copy to see how it all went! If you do give it a try, I think you'll find it a worthwhile and a very 'stimulating' listen.
                                                                                        




Publisher's Summary

The sharp, funny, entirely original and explosive debut novel by Adam Thirlwell - twice named one of the Best Young British Novelists by Granta magazine.
In case you had not noticed, writes Adam Thirlwell in his first novel, Politics,, in this book I am not interested in anything so small as the history of the USSR. I am not writing anything so limited.

In this epic miniature, therefore, Politics tells the story of three kids in their twenties falling in love with each other in London. And, simultaneously, it tells other, smaller stories: of Stalin on the phone, Mao in the bathroom, Osip Mandelstam in another bathroom, Adolf Hitler on all fours, and Milan Kundera in an argument. Politics, is not (quite) about politics.

Adam Thirlwell was born in 1978. He is the author of Politics, The Escape, Miss Herbert and Kapow. He was named as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists in 2003 and again in 2013. He lives in London.

What the Critics Say 

"Extremely accomplished...very sophisticated" (A S Byatt, Guardian)
"One of the funniest, most stylish and utterly original debuts in years" (The Times)
"This is a clever book. Fantastically clever...funny and strangely insightful... A genuinely original book" 
(Daily Mail)
"Dazzling...clever, funny and original" (India Knight, Observer)
"Allusive, barbed, cocky, flamboyant, reckless, obscene and very funny" (Time Out)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Trial of The Valeyard

Released this month, Trial of The Valeyard, complete with its official cover art created by Simon Holub:


Here's what Big Finish have to say about this pivotal story:


There is some evil in all of us – even the Doctor. Transported aboard the Time Lords' orbiting courtroom, the Doctor once again encounters the Valeyard, an amalgamation of the darker sides of his nature. This time, however, the Doctor isn't in the dock. This time, the Valeyard is the defendant, accused of a crime so terrible that the presiding Inquisitor is forbidden to reveal it even to the court, nor even to his counsel for the defence… the Doctor.

If the Valeyard is found guilty, he'll be executed. Execute the Valeyard, and the secret of his origins dies with him. A secret that the Doctor is desperate to know… and which the Time Lords will stop at nothing to protect.

Colin Baker The Doctor   Michael Jayston The Valeyard   Lynda Bellingham The Inquisitor

Written by: Alan Barnes and Mike Maddox
Directed by: Barnaby Edwards 

Monday, 2 December 2013

Who's on trial...

Another month - and this one is December - almost the end of the year! And what a busy, varied and interesting year it's been; theatre, audio drama, radio and audio books - who'd have thought it!

The most recent highlight for me has been the Dr Who 50th Celebration event; the level of excitement it generated slightly overshadowed other professional activities and it feels odd this week to be getting back to 'normal' - if such a state exists!

So this week's 'normal' consists of recording the final chapters of a RNIB Talking Book, Author, Author by David Lodge and the recording of two audio dramas with Big Finish. I'm very much looking forward to all of that; final preparations today and the fun starts tomorrow.

But what else is happening this month? Well who knows what might turn up.What I can say, is that this month sees the release of a Sherlock Holmes box-set from Big Finish and here are the details:

 The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes



Four decades. Four cases. One solution.

From the plains of Afghanistan to the alleyways of Victorian London, from the dark heart of the English countryside to the ruin of Europe after the Great War, join Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson in a quartet of astonishing new investigations which span their lifelong friendship – and beyond…

Nicholas Briggs Sherlock Holmes   Richard Earl Dr Watson   John Banks Inspector Lestrade  
Derek Carlyle Wherry   Blake Ritson Christopher Thrale    
Michael Cochrane Winchester Bartley-Gower   Amy Ewbank Eliza Hinderclay/Judy
Eve Karpf  The Gracious Adelina/Mrs Chaunt Maclise/Mrs Hope    Ken Bones Jim Hinderclay 
 Caroline Keiff Tess Dorno   Tracey Childs Mrs Edgar Curbishley  
Marek Oravec Griesser   Andrew Fettes Tlitzlmann Blench

 Written by: Jonathan Barnes
Directed by: Ken Bentley 

I've always enjoyed listening to BF's Sherlock Holmes adventures; Nick and Richard capture the essence of the characters so vividly and the stories are such faithful evocations of the original Conan Doyle style. We recorded the four CDs that make up this box-set back in March, so when I come to listen to them, sometime in the next few weeks, they should sound very fresh - can't wait!





 * * * * *





There's another very interesting release this month, which is currently only available as a Big Finish subscriber bonus. In December 2014, the story will become available to all:  

 Trial of The Valeyard




BF have released the above image upon which, presumably, the cover art will be based; we shall see! For the keen listener, there might also be a surprise or two which BF haven't so far mentioned. If you are a subscriber, I hope you enjoy the story when it becomes available later this month.

* * * * *

And now, back to preparation for tomorrow's audio book, but before I go, I just want to mention a production of Ionesco's The Bald Prima Donna, which opens on Thursday 5th December at The Old Red Lion in Islington. This alternative Christmas show from Tarquin Productions, is directed by the team responsible for The Blind and The Intruder, Benji Sperring and Rachel Illingworth. I'm really looking forward to seeing this show, which promises to be highly original and hugely entertaining!


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

The Door In The Wall & War of The Worlds

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

Andy Frankham-Allen - writer

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

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

Josiah Bancroft - writer

Mervyn Stone: The Axeman Cometh

John Banks is a voice genius...

Nev Fountain - writer

Mervyn Stone... played by the note-perfect John Banks.

Matt Hills - Reviews in Time and Space

Dr. Who: The Sleeping City

I also must draw attention to John Banks who is an exceptional voice artist and in this one story performs more characters that I can count. ... it is listening to episodes like this one that really do let his talents shine through.

Tony Jones - Red Rocket Rising

Highlander:

...playing several parts, was the brilliant Big Finish regular John Banks - it was as if there were about 40 different actors in the other booth.

James Moran - writer

I went for the best of the best and brought in voice artiste extraordinaire John Banks.

Paul Spragg - producer

Vienna:

...also features the mind - bogglingly versatile and reliable John Banks

Jonathan Morris - writer

Dead Funny:

The acting is first rate… wonderfully played by John Banks as Richard – his impersonation of Eric Morecambe is worth the admission money alone.

Beverly Greenberg: Bolton Evening News

Mr. Happiness:

This early and unfamiliar play by David Mamet is a character study of a 1930s radio counsellor, dispensing suave advice to his devoted listeners. John Banks brings out the wry comedy of this – comedy quite unappreciated by the character – with a clever range of gesture and vocal tone.

Jeremy Kingston: The Times


All My Sons:

This is a beautifully crafted piece ...and it affords a wonderful opportunity for John Readman* to do his All-American Boy act as Chris Keller. This most polished and well observed performance as the blighted son of a blighted father must rank as one of his finest accomplishments yet. ( * see Profile)

The Stage

The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes

Kudos should also go to John Banks. Lestrade can be a thankless part, but Banks rose to the challenge, playing a pivotal role in this decades long arc.

Raissa Devereux - SciFiPulse

The Judgement of Sherlock Holmes

John Banks is multi-tasking, both as the superb Lestrade and also the villainous and no doubt moustache twirling Sebastian Moran. They sound completely different and I bow to his talent.

Sue Davies - SFcrowsnest


Further reviews and comments are included with specific postings throughout the site.

The War Doctor

The War Doctor
December 2015