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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Friday, 30 May 2014

2014 Audie Awards

Just a very quick posting, as I'm currently on a lunch break from theatre rehearsals in Nottingham; do you remember in a previous posting a couple of months ago, I mentioned that the audio anthology Thirteen had been nominated for an Audie Award?



Well, long story short; the Awards Ceremony took place last night in New York - and we won! I'm unsurprisingly surprised, thrilled and delighted - congratulations to all and huge thanks to Neil Gardner at Spokenworld Audio who produced Thirteen and got me involved as a reader of one of the 'thirteen' stories -  amazing!




  Hidden Track (part 1) by Scott Harrison read by Barnaby Edwards 
  Dead Space  by  George Mann read by Greg Wise 
  A Girl, Sitting  by  Mark Morris read by Jilly Bond 
  Finding The Path  by  Kaaron Warren read by Trevor White 
  The Hairstyle of the Devil  by  Martin Day read by Arthur Darvill 
  Down  by  Gary McMahon read by Stephen Rashbrook 
  Visions  by  Cavan Scott read by Michael Maloney 
  Half Life  by  Dan Abnett read by John Banks 
  Hidden Track (part 2) by Scott Harrison read by Barnaby Edwards
  With Her In Spirit  by  Stephen Gallagher read by Frances Barber
  Tabula Rasa  by  Alasdair Stuart read by Lalla Ward
 One Hit Wanda  by  Kim Newman read by Samuel West
  A Glass of Water  by  Mark Wright read by Gemma Arterton
 Ghost Pit  by  Simon Clark read by Jeff Harding
 I Wish  by  Johnny Mains read by Steven Cree
  Hidden Track (part 3) by Scott Harrison read by Barnaby Edwards

   Edited by Scott Harrison
    Produced by Neil Gardner


"one of the most intriguing and entertaining audiobooks in years...every performance and tale is 
worth hearing" - AudioFile
"A great collection of supernatural tales - those who like their spines chilled will be very pleased. 
9/10" - Starburst Magazine
"A deliciously dark collation. 8/10" - SciFiBulletin
"Nicely assembled...not a bad story or bad vocal performance amongst them. 3.5/5" - SFX Magazine
"If you're a fan of classic, spine tingling horror then that should be reason enough to listen to Thirteen" - GeekPlanetOnline
"Thirteen is a fantastically dark, spooky anthology. 7/10" - The Cult Den


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Survivors Series 1

Late as it is and busy as I am, I just had to post this image of the quite stunning artwork for the new Survivors audio series from Big Finish. Designer Anthony Lamb has done an amazing job and I really can't wait to get my hands and ears on this recording.

Big Finish released this image a little while ago along with the following update:



We are delighted to reveal the full packaging of Survivors - Series 1, our brand new audio drama set in a post apocalyptic world created by Terry Nation (The Daleks, Blake’s 7).

Survivors will be released early in June, and sees the return of three characters from the original series;

Greg Ian McCulloch, Jenny Lucy Fleming and Abby Carolyn Seymour, here making a cameo role before a larger involvement in Series 2. 

Our series begins with the plague that will wipe out most of the world’s population, and introduces a number of new characters, some of whom will go on to future series.

The Series 1 line-up includes: 

Helen Wiseman Caroline Langrishe Daniel Connor John Banks 
Maddie Price Chase Masterson John Redgrave Terry Molloy 
Jackie Burchall Louise Jameson Susie Edwards Sinead Keenan  
James Gillison Adrian Lukis  Fiona Bell Camilla Power

- but which of them will survive?

 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Audible audios...

Just taking a quick break from the joyful task of 'cold' line learning, to announce the release of two new audio books, Black Venus by James MacManus and Gabriel's Angel by Mark A. Radcliffe, which are now available from Audible.co.uk. Both were fun to work on with producer Neil Gardner at Ladbroke Audio and should you decide to give them a listen, I hope you'll enjoy them too.


A fictional biographical slice of Baudelaire's life and love with his famous Haitian muse, Jeanne Duval, Black Venus captures the artistic scene in the great French capital city, at a time when the likes of Dumas and Balzac argued literature in the caf├ęs of the Left Bank. Among the bohemians, the young Charles Baudelaire stood out, dressed impeccably thanks to an inheritance that was quickly vanishing.

Still at work on the poems that he hoped would make his name, he spent his nights enjoying the alcohol, opium and women who filled the seedy streets of the city. One woman would catch his eye, a beautiful Haitian cabaret singer named Jeanne Duval. Their lives would remain forever intertwined thereafter, and their romance would inspire his most infamous poems leading to the banning of his masterwork, Les Fleurs du Mal, and a scandalous public trial for obscenity.


Gabriel Bell is a grumpy 44 - year old web journalist irritated by the accumulating disappointments in life. He and his girlfriend Ellie want to start a family, but Gabriel has so few sperm he can name them and knit them flippers. So it's IVF, which is expensive. Losing his job was bad enough, but getting run over and waking up to find himself in a therapy group run by angels really annoys him.

In Gabriel's group are a professional killer and his last victim, as well as the woman whose car put Gabriel and herself in a coma. From this therapeutic community, just below Heaven, they can see the lives of those they have left behind and how they cope. Will the one hit wonder resurrect his Eighties band for a reunion tour? And can Ellie and her friends retrieve what they need from Gabriel's body, so that she at least can finish what they started?

If the group do well in the therapy they may be allowed to pass into Heaven, or go back to Earth to finish their lives. If not, it's Hell. Or worse, more therapy.

* * * * *
An epic new audio series starts recording next week for me (details to follow!) and then I'm off to Nottingham to start rehearsals for the first of the three plays I'm due to perform in weekly rep at Theatre Royal Windsor and Theatre Royal Nottingham. Further details are listed in the previous May posting.

a bientot!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

May 2014 - what a thriller!

What is it about May? Once again, I seem to have waved goodbye to my comfort zone, the notion of restful sleep and perhaps even a chunk of my dwindling sanity. I've just had a quick look at a posting I made here last May and notice a pattern beginning to develop; a calm-ish start to the year, followed in the fifth month by a tsunami of work and over commitment. As a jobbing actor, living a life of famine or feast, I always find it hard to have to turn down offers of work: it goes against the grain. This May however, I have had to turn down some lovely work; work that I would really love to have done. The reason for doing so is that, like last May, I've been very busy in the recording studio and have additionally agreed to take a job in the theatre at short notice.

I do love theatre, it's what I grew up doing and is something I am by now, very familiar with. The thrill of rehearsing and performing a play has never diminished for me. However, I know of several actors, especially more recent graduates, who perhaps don't have the same passion for theatre as some of us older hands. For them, getting into television and building a career there is the thing to do and for all I know, such an approach might be actively promoted in drama schools these days; television is often a much more lucrative pursuit and from an agent's point of view, a much better way to quickly establish a client's profile.

All this preamble is building up to me saying that, once again as May has rolled around, I think I might have bitten off more than I can possibly chew. Last year, I had to 'cold learn' two Maeterlinck plays and go on after three afternoon rehearsals. That certainly got my attention and having achieved the task in hand, I felt super confident that 'the old magic' was still there, that I could do anything and I really was a 'master of the universe' etc etc... Such confidence is a very precious commodity and it left me about an hour after the final curtain on that production. Since then, a whole year of self doubt has crept back in and my task this year, makes last year's look like a couple of weeks sipping cocktails on a private beach, with a warm, gentle breeze and the sound of the ocean for company.

It's now May 18th; by June 28th, my Mission Impossible is to have learned, rehearsed and performed three full-length plays. This kind of work is usually referred to as 'weekly rep' and in late 19th - mid 20th Century Britain, became the established method of putting on a variety of shows in quick succession, at a time when most towns and cities would have had their own Repertory Theatre with it's own resident company of actors. The idea is to rehearse the first play and as soon as it opens, start rehearsing the second and so on; rehearsing during the day and performing at night. When I started out, most of the older actors I worked with had begun their careers in weekly rep and considered it a right of passage, a badge of honour almost. Apart from my final two years at university, when I was rehearsing and performing at least a couple of productions at any given moment, I've never experienced such 'full on' theatre and in a bizarre way, I'm really looking forward to the immense challenge of it. Good job I love theatre!

I leave for Nottingham next Tuesday to start rehearsals, but before then, I also have four days in the recording studio, for which I need to be fully prepared of course. Not complaining, but - aaaaaaagh!

I shall spend the rest of this sunny Sunday trying to assimilate the first play we're due to rehearse and I reckon I'm about half way there. The goal I set myself was to have cracked the first play by tonight and so far, I'm roughly on schedule. My days in the recording studio are semi-prepared, but tomorrow's I haven't yet seen the script for and will probably have to rely on instinct when it comes to performing it. The next two projects are just about ready although the final three stories I have yet to read.

So, there we have it. I will of course update here when possible and let you know how things are going...

In the meantime, here's a poster for the shows at Windsor; I'm in The Ghost Train, The Shadow of The Ghost and Fatal Encounter.


As a quick PS, I should also mention that Nick Briggs is directing the first two plays and Karen Henson is directing Fatal Encounter.

...further updates coming soon!

Friday, 9 May 2014

Paul Spragg

For the last couple of days, I've been in the studio with the Big Finish crew, recording a Dr Who adventure and having great fun as always. At the end of today's recording, director and BF Executive Producer Nick Briggs, told us, with great courage and dignity I might say, that our dear friend and colleague Paul Spragg had very sadly died yesterday.

To be honest, I'm still so shocked at the news that it all seems slightly unreal; forgive me if what I'm writing doesn't make much sense or fails to convey the deep sense of loss that so many people will be experiencing right now, particularly of course, Paul's close friends and family for whom I have the deepest sympathy at this very sad time.

Many visitors to this site may well have had direct dealings with Paul, either via the BF website or even in person at one of the Big Finish Days or other conventions. If so, you will know something of the kind of man he was. Paul was always so kind to me, friendly and approachable from the outset; we started working with BF at more or less the same time and he was always fun to be with and incredibly supportive.

Only a few weeks ago for example, soon after the release of Dr Who: Moonflesh, he sent me an email, completely out of the blue, just to say how much he'd enjoyed the story and to say nice things about my performance in it. I was incredibly touched that he'd taken the time to express such warm and generous sentiments and wrote back to tell him so, little imagining that we'd never be in touch again. He will be much missed.


Big Finish have released a statement which you can read here: Paul Spragg


 Paul with Lisa Greenwood at The Dr Who 50th Anniversary November 2013

Rest In Peace Pauly x

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Survivors: June 2014


It begins with just a few people falling ill. Another flu virus that spreads around the globe. And then the reports begin that people are dying…

When most of the world's population is wiped out, a handful of survivors are left to pick up the pieces.
Cities become graveyards. Technology becomes largely obsolete. Mankind must start again…




Monday, 5 May 2014

Star Wars? No, we all get along very well...




In an unprecedented outburst of pre-launch candour, Big Finish have revealed not only the name of a forthcoming episode of Dr Who, but have also photographed most of the cast along with writer and director and made it public!

Apparently, some other Sci-Fi franchise had tried to steal our thunder by publishing a very similar photograph of their cast and director, although the details are so obscure, I'm afraid I can't recollect any further info about their production; chances are, it was merely a 'stunt' and the show, whatever it is, might never get made...

Dr Who: The Widow's Assassin is scheduled for release in October.


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