Coming June 6th…

Coming June 6th…
The Mercy Chair
"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." 2018


...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 270* 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 214* audio books & stories I've recorded since March 2013,
including the unabridged New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, for companies including, Hachette, Audible Studios, Podium Audio Publishing, HarperCollins, RNIB, W.F. Howes, Little Brown Group, Penguin Random House, Games Workshop, Orion, Fantom Films & Ladbroke Audio.

(*figures at April 2021)

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...

The Runewar Saga: Book 2

The Runewar Saga: Book 2
The Crown of Fire & Fury

The Botanist

The Botanist
Washington Poe Series: Book 5

Skaven Deathmaster

The Babel Books

The Babel Books
The Fall of Babel - click image above for link to audible

Doctor Who: Back To Earth

Throne of Light: Dawn of Fire Book 4

Throne of Light: Dawn of Fire Book 4
Release Date: 13th November 2021

Soul Wars

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Thursday 20 February 2014

19th Annual Audie® Awards ...and things that seize up in the night!

Phew! Perhaps some of you who are of a tweeting disposition might already know that at something like 11.30 last night, producer Neil Gardner and I finished recording Tim Waggoner's final Nekropolis novel, Dark War.

I briefly alluded to the technical challenge of recording these books in the last update a few days ago; allow me now to elucidate. Each of the three books, Nekropolis, Dead Streets and Dark War are about 400 pages in length and each was scheduled to be recorded in three four-hour sessions. That's a recording average of 130 + pages per four-hour session. To put that into perspective, a regular Big Finish script usually comes in at around 180 pages and takes sixteen hours to record over a two day period. Because of a computer glitch on Monday, we lost a bit of time, which meant that yesterday, instead of 130 pages, we actually had to record 152 - yikes!

The most I've ever managed to record is 200 pages over seven hours, which apparently is also the most Neil has ever managed to record - what a team! So, anyway, as you can imagine, we had our work cut out. As usual, I'd done quite a bit of preparation for these books so that when I went into the studio, I'd know exactly what I was doing, where the story was going and who the various characters were. I also usually give each character a different highlight colour so that my eye/brain can assimilate who's to be played next as the narration progresses - with 130 + pages to record in four hours, it's not a bad idea to have done a bit of homework!

With a regular novel, there might be a handful of central characters and a few more peripheral characters; maybe ten or so altogether. So, no problem there, just come up with ten different voices, easily remembered and off you go. As an aid, I also note down any details I might need to refer to about each character on a 'crib sheet', which I can have a quick look at if necessary. However, so many characters appear in these novels, that my crib sheet ran to 8 sides of A4 - eight sides!!! Excluding the minor players, I've made notes on 87 recurring characters, each of which, in theory, has a unique, distinctive and identifiable voice!!!

Now just in case you're tempted to think I'm overstating the trickiness and mind bending complexity of this, let me also throw into the mix the fact that only a very few of these characters are actually human; the vast majority are aliens of the most varied and bizarre kind, some without mouths, some without heads and many of them are 'shape-shifters', so each of the 87 might also have a number of 'guises', which racks up the character count considerably. An extreme example of such a character is Lord Amon, who appears in book one of the trilogy, Nekropolis.

For anyone planning to read or listen to these stories, here's a 'SPOILER ALERT' !

Still with me? Ok, so, as I was saying, Lord Amon - a Darklord and shape-shifter supreme - here's a resume of his various character 'guises':
1) a giant were-rabbit 2) a 'British' sounding man in fox-hunting attire 3) Frank Buck - a Big Game Hunter with a gravelly American voice 4) a 'Daniel Boone' type character with a Kentucky accent 5) an African Tribesman 6) a Native American 7) a Caveman 8) a "a beer-gutted, flannel-shirted, John Deere-capped, shotgun-toting hunter" 9) a Large Grey Wolf 10) a Grizzly Bear 11) a Blurry Amoeba and 12) a Giant Serpent - oh, and underlying all of that, he is also a Lycanthrope - naturally.

By 10.30 last night, my voice was fine, but my cheek/face muscles were really starting to ache and almost 24 hours later, they still do - it feels like I've had a thorough work out at the dentist. I mention all this to you now, because I'm just happy to have survived!

* * * * *

And so, to round off today's posting, it has come as a very pleasant surprise indeed to discover the audio anthology Thirteen which I took part in recording last autumn, has been nominated for a 2104 Audie Award in the category Original Work. The Audies are apparently the audio equivalent of the Oscars, so a nomination is in itself a tremendous honour. My congratulations to all involved in the project and big thanks to Neil for asking me to record Dan Abnett's story.

Here are the details:


The Audies, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), is the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audio-books and spoken word entertainment.

Winners will be recognized at the Audies Gala in New York City on May 29, 2014. 

  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

 ...all for now, more just as soon as my face muscles have recovered!

Dalek Universe 2

Kragnos Broken Realms

Age of Sigmar Dominion

The Moggotkin of Nurgle

Kragnos Broken Realms

Dawn of Fire Book 1: Avenging Son

The Lore of Direchasm


A C'tan Shard Rises 3

Indomitus: Necrons 2

A Lord Among the Stars 1

Angels of Death Preview


Psychic Awakening

Warcry: Death or Glory

Warhammer 40,000

Flight. Redefined.

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


...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

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