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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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Avengers: The Comic Strip Adaptations...

...Volume 2! Just sneaking in on the last day of the month is the second collection of stories featuring, for me at least, the classic combination of Steed & Peel, who appeared not only on television, but also as a comic strip in 'Diana' magazine in 1966 and '67. The name 'Diana' had nothing to do with Diana Rigg, who famously and iconically played Emma Peel on tv; just a coincidence as far as I'm aware.

There are lots of actors involved in the telling of these stories, (as you can see by scrolling down!) and I'm in there somewhere too. These stories are usually a lot of fun and I'm very much looking forward to giving them a listen. Although I must confess, I'm already way behind in my listening; so many long audio books to keep up with and the seven Malazan novels are not yet in my possession (do they even exist on CD yet???). A couple of those are up in the twenty hours plus range and one is something like 34 hours long. That's nothing of course to my audio version of The Bible (again, not available yet), which I reckon, comes in at something around the seventy-four hour mark! And the UNIT: Silenced box set has just arrived...

"But enough rambling!" I hear you cry, "Tell me about The Avengers!" Ok, here goes:

'... wonderfully silly, jam packed with knowing, self-deprecating and reverential humour, these are the kind of stories that you lose yourself and all track of time in... The writing is spot on, Olivia Poulet and Julian Wadham are absolutely splendid... the supporting cast do a first class job.... In fact, it’s all rather magnificent and jolly good fun.' Tim Cundle Mass Movement



Playtime is Over by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky

Steed gets toyed with, Emma has an admirer.

A series of impossible robberies have plagued London. Called in to investigate, Steed and Peel find themselves up against some very deadly children. Or do they?

The Antagoniser by Paul Morris and Simon Barnard

Steed catches a bite, Emma is a little cowed.

Several noted scientists have died in unusual circumstances, and Steed and Peel find themselves up against a deadly weapon. But who is behind it? Does an old TV broadcast hold the answer?

The Mad Hatter by Matt Fitton

Steed charms a princess, Emma buys a hat.

When Princess Helga of Varania comes to England, all the nation is charmed. Well, nearly all. A dastardly assassination plot is being prepared and only Steed and Peel can stop it. Who wants to be a milliner?

The Secret Six by John Dorney

Steed hits a boundary, Emma shall go to the ball.

When an invitation to a fancy dress party leads to murder, Steed and Peel face the fight of their lives. The world’s six deadliest criminals want them dead – and will stop at nothing to make sure of it!

Julian Wadham (John Steed), Olivia Poulet (Emma Peel),
 Lizzie Roper (Black Heart/Miss Fellowes), Michael Keane (Jorgo), Kiruna Stamell (Girlie), Andrew Wincott (Tiny Tony/Lord Beauville), John Banks (Teddy/Taxi driver), 
Richard Earl (Dr Verbatim/Fairground Worker), Michael Lumsden (Gruber/Klein/Window Cleaner/Agent), Paul Kemp (Partridge/Porter), 
Eve Webster (Nurse/Elaine Veer/Matron/Parrot), 
Maggie Service (Princess Helga/Assistant), Paul Chahidi (Mad Hatter/Driver/Policeman), 
John Voce (Tom Bowler), Terry Molloy (Inspector Corduroy), Ozzie Yue (Chang-Tu), 
George Asprey (Nick the Knifeman/Karloff), 
Jonathan Tafler (Ice-cold Alex/Lord Tweezle), Anita Booth (Ma the Mink/Olga)

Directed by Ken Bentley & Produced by David Richardson

* * * * *

Phew! And that's the end of November's releases, but it's fair to say that I'm very excited about what might be coming up in December; very excited; very, very excited...


...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Vanquished

Good afternoon! I have to start by saying that "it's been quite a week!". Having completed the series of audio book recordings I mentioned in the last posting and 'been there and done that' with the episode of the tv series I also mentioned a while ago, (terrific fun by the way & much more to come on this) I had honestly been looking forward to a time of calm contemplation, a bit of navel gazing and the occasional thumb twiddle, maybe a hair cut?

But no. Two very welcome and exciting audio dramas have materialised in the last few days and will need to be recorded over the next few weeks. As always, I can't yet give details, but they will assuredly follow when the time comes for the recordings to be released. In their different ways, both dramas present interesting challenges and I'm thoroughly looking forward to mid week, when recording begins. I'm now in the process of reading and marking up the scripts and assimilating the narrative and the characters I'm required to play, all of which is fun, although marking up a long audio book can sometimes stretch on a bit.

"So far, so what?" you may ask. Well, just as one of my thumbs decided on a bit of twiddle practice, late on Thursday afternoon, the prospect of a very interesting job was dangled before me, a job which I thought I had virtually no chance of being seriously considered for - I mean, seriously? My benificent tormentor told me that by 6 o'clock that evening, I would know if the job was mine - or much more likely, not mine.

6 o'clock eventually came, about an hour after 5 - with no news - and went. Mmm. Not good. So I started telling myself how unlikely it would have been to have been offered the job and "you never miss what you haven't had" and trying to effect a sort of cool indifference to my inevitable disappointment which, karma wise, balanced out an otherwise upbeat and very positive week.

Friday. Nothing. The job, I should mention, is the recording of an audio book; quite a special and exciting and somewhat daunting audio book. Schedules are tight, deadlines already loom. It's Friday afternoon; the job has gone... surely?

...?

Late Friday afternoon; an email has been sent but is somehow late in arriving, lost in the ether. Unbelievably and only a few emails later, the offer is astonishingly made and the deal is done! Shocked. Just shocked. Still shocked a couple of days later and now also knee deep in preparation for this daunting task which will commence - sometime this week!!! 

And all is calm.

So, to the main purpose of this posting. Not very long ago, a month or so, I recorded a fascinating book, which is now available from audible and Amazon and probably lots of other places too. Here are some details:


The Vanquished: Why The First World War Failed To End, 1917-1923

For the Western allies, 11 November 1918 has always been a solemn date - the end of fighting which had destroyed a generation and a vindication of a terrible sacrifice with the total collapse of their principal enemies: the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. But for much of the rest of Europe, this was a day with no meaning, as a continuing nightmarish series of conflicts engulfed country after country.  

 

In this highly original, gripping book, Robert Gerwarth asks us to think again about the true legacy of the First World War. In large part it was not the fighting on the Western front which proved so ruinous to Europe's future but the devastating aftermath, as countries on both sides of the original conflict were wrecked by revolution, pogroms, mass expulsions and further major military clashes. 

If the war itself had in most places been a struggle purely between state-backed soldiers, these new conflicts were mainly about civilians and paramilitaries, and millions of people died across Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe before the USSR and a series of rickety and exhausted small new states came into being. Everywhere there were vengeful people, their lives racked by a murderous sense of injustice, looking for the opportunity to take retribution against enemies real and imaginary. 

Only a decade later, the rise of the Third Reich and other totalitarian states provided them with the opportunity they had been looking for. 


Written by Robert Gerwarth & Narrated by John Banks  

Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins


By strange coincidence, I'd been looking at this book in a book shop the day before the job to record it was offered; I took it as 'a sign'.

The book has certainly helped me to understand the brutal nature of the post WWI period and how the political threads of that conflict lead to the further catastrophe of WWII. Technically, I found The Vanquished quite a challenge to narrate, primarily because of the complexity of pronouncing the myriad people and place names that occur throughout. A private reader might easily skip over these names in pursuit of the stronger narrative line, whereas a narrator has to make each name sound authentic and accurate - and 'conversational'! I hope I have had some success with the task of achieving the right balance in pronouncing names from across Europe, Russia, The Balkans and indeed all those countries that became embroiled in the global conflict of WWI and it's aftermath.


  * * * * *

That ought to be all for now, but just to step out onto a thinnish branch here: an audio drama has just been released from Games Workshop and I have been credited with an appearance in it. That might well be the case, but I have no specific record or recollection of having taken part...

Anyway, the cover art alone is worth posting, so whether I'm in it or not, here are some details:

The Thirteenth Wolf

A Horus Heresy audio drama

The Space Wolves have assaulted Prospero and driven the traitorous Thousand Sons into the madness of the immaterium. Bravely, the 13th Company pursue their fleeing foes, but at what cost?


For more than two hundred years, the armies of the Emperor of Mankind fought to reconquer the galaxy - led by the superhuman primarchs, the Space Marine Legions brought countless worlds back under the rule of ancient Terra.

Now Horus, once honoured Warmaster and favoured son of the Emperor, has been corrupted by the whispered promises of Chaos. At his command the Imperium is torn apart by a terrible and bloody civil war, the likes of which the galaxy has never seen... At the Emperor's command were the Wolves of Russ unleashed, but it is by the will of Horus alone that Prospero now burns.

The VIth Legion have stormed the world of Magnus the Red, with venerable warriors of the Thirteenth Great Company always to be found where the fighting is at its most bloody, seeking to write their own names into the sagas of Fenris.

But the Thousand Sons are far from defeated, and their foul sorcery may yet be the doom of all, deep within the maddening heart of the Portal Maze.


 Gareth Armstrong, John Banks, Ian Brooker, Tim Bentinck, Steve Conlin, Jonathan Keeble
and Toby Longworth

Written by Gav Thorpe & Produced by Matt Renshaw 

* * * * *
And that really is where I should draw this posting to a close; the text becons! 


...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!

 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

You nit!

Little play on words there; 'you nit', 'UNIT' - geddit? Oh well. So the first Big Finish release from me in a while - and it's quite a hefty box set. Should be an interesting and entertaining listen - I hope! Here are some details and an appetite whetting trailer:

Decades after their defeat by the Eleventh Doctor, the Silence prepare to rise against humanity....







  House of Silents

There is no record of the presence of an alien species known as ‘The Silents’ on Earth. UNIT has never engaged hostiles capable of editing themselves from observers’ memories.
There is no evidence that such an opponent, if real, is regrouping and beginning a new plan of infiltration and manipulation.
Kate Stewart and her team are in no mortal danger. How can they be, when they don’t even know the enemy exists?

  Square One

It’s business as usual at UNIT, and thankfully, Kate Stewart has no immediate threats to concern her. Or so she believes.
But when Sam Bishop returns from leave, he notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Soon he and Osgood are on the trail of an elusive enemy.
Meanwhile, Kenneth LeBlanc and his controversial political movement gather momentum, and one UNIT team member isn’t quite themselves...


  Silent Majority

Kenneth LeBlanc looks set to lead his party to national victory, overturning political opinion and taking the polls by storm. UNIT can only stand and watch as a silent revolution takes place.
But who are LeBlanc’s real backers? And what use to them is the triumph of a leader who seems to be nothing more than a liability?
The Silents are about to make the headlines.

  In Memory Alone

When Sam Bishop and Osgood visit an orbiting space station for a routine mission, they have no idea that they are part of an alien scheme, years in the planning.

As the global situation spins out of control, Kate seeks help from an unlikely source.
The Silents are not done with humanity yet – and they will have their revenge.


Jemma Redgrave Kate Stewart Ingrid Oliver Petronella Osgood Warren Brown Lieutenant Sam Bishop 
James Joyce Captain Josh Carter Ramon Tikaram Colonel Shindi Tracy Wiles Jacqui McGee Joanna Wake Miss Faversham Nicholas Day Kenneth LeBlanc/Heston Tom Alexander Cecil/Derek Aaron Neil Homeless Man/News Reporter/David Nimmy March Baroness Vance/Telokni  
John Banks Mission Control/Captain/Soldier and Nicholas Briggs as The Silence

Written by Matt Fitton & John Dorney
Directed by Ken Bentley  

* * * * *
 
Earlier today, I finished recording a series of audio stories which are scheduled to be released, starting early next year, which is now getting quite close! As usual, all a bit secret at the moment, but not long to wait for a proper update. Last week, I also had great fun doing some telly acting, which I haven't done for some time. It was quite a challenging part to play in some ways, but was nevertheless a very enjoyable project to work on and again, details will be revealed as soon as possible. And so, to sign off in time honoured fashion...

...all for now, more just as soon as it happens!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Children of Sicarus

So what can that mean, 'Children of Sicarus'? Well, it's another full cast audio drama from Games Workshop which, astonishingly, becomes my 7th audio release of October and 48th of 2016 - phew!

Here are some details to whet your appetite and potentially, denude your savings...

Children of Sicarus

A Horus Heresy audio drama

Kor Phaeron of the Word Bearers and his devoted followers adjust to life on the daemon world of Sicarus. Threatened by enemies and surrounded by terrors, will they survive to exact revenge on the Imperium?


After the destruction of the Infidus Imperator, Kor Phaeron of the Word Bearers brought his followers to supposed safety in the Eye of Terror. However, their newly adopted home, the daemon world Sicarus, is far from the sanctuary they imagined – the twisted hordes of the Kairic Adept Larazzar seek to crush these newcomers and all who would ally with them.

Only in the ancient legends of Sicarus can their salvation be found, but is Kor Phaeron the one to lead them to it?

Featuring:

 Gareth Armstrong, John Banks, Tim Bentinck, Steve Conlin, Toby Longworth & Penelope Rawlins

Written by Anthony Reynolds & Produced by Matt Renshaw 



...all for now, more just as soon 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