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, 26 July 2017

The Horusian Wars: Resurrection

Good morning! And so, July rolls along apace and some very interesting audio projects have been recorded, others are set to be recorded and yet others are being released. Which brings us neatly to today's posting.

The latest release comes from The Black Library and which is, in my opinion, a fascinating and thoroughly absorbing story from John French. Resurrection features a host of well drawn characters, quite a number of them female, which I had great fun creating voices for, together with an intriguing and fast paced plot. Here are some details:

Horusian Wars: Resurrection


A Warhammer 40,000 novel

Summoned to an inquisitorial conclave, Inquisitor Covenant believes he has uncovered an agent of Chaos and prepares to denounce the heretic Talicto before his fellows…




War rages in the Caradryad Sector. Worlds are falling to madness and rebellion, and the great war machine of the Imperium is moving to counter the threat. Amongst its agents is Inquisitor Covenant. Puritan, psyker, expert swordsman, he reserves an especial hatred for those of his order who would seek to harness the power of Ruin as a weapon.

Summoned to an inquisitorial conclave, Covenant believes he has uncovered such a misguided agent and prepares to denounce the heretic Talicto before his fellows. But when the gathering is attacked and many left dead in its wake, Covenant vows to hunt down Talicto and discover the truth behind the mysterious cult apparently at the heart of the massacre, the Unseen.

In the murky plot into which he is drawn, Covenant knows only one thing for certain: trust no one.


Written by John French

Produced by Matthew Renshaw and Narrated by John Banks

Audiobook running time: 10 hours 14 minutes.

* * * * *

And just in case you missed it...

...as I did, here's a very interesting, challenging and thought provoking audio anthology which I co-narrated with Nicola Bryant. Thought X was produced by Neil Gardner and released by audible.co.uk in June:

Thought X: Fictions and Hypotheticals

Science is always telling stories. Whether in the creation myths of evolution or the Big Bang, or in the eureka moments of science history, narrative just as much as metaphor is a key tool in the scientist's surprisingly literary toolkit. 

 

Perhaps the most interesting use of story is the thought experiment, the intuition pump, that draws on the most instinctive parts of the imagination to crack otherwise perplexing problems. From Newton's Bucket to Maxwell's Demon, from Einstein's Lift to Schrodinger's Cat, all are examples of 'fiction' being used at the highest level, not just to explain, but to deduce, to prove.

In this unique anthology, authors have collaborated with leading scientists, to bounce literary, human narratives against purely theoretical ones, alloying together real stories with abstract ones, to produce truly extraordinary results.

Also featuring stories by Annie Clarkson, Marie Louise Cookson, Claire Dean, Andy Hedgecock, Sarah Schofield, Zoe Gilbert, Sandra Alland, Margaret Wilkinson, and Anneliese Mackintosh.

Unabridged Audiobook: Length: 9 hours 



* * * * *

Amazingly and without quite knowing why, I somehow seem to have achieved a sort of 'balance' in terms of the volume of work I have to do with the amount of time in which I have to do it. Consequently, I can actively savour the prospect of the various projects I know are coming up over the next few months. There are still quite a number of 'scripts' to arrive for me to prepare - hot off the press stuff! - so, at the moment, I'm not feeling buried by the demands of work and can properly enjoy each project as it comes along - joy!

* * * * *

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Doctor Who: The Movellan Grave

And so, a short lull in activity after a very busy time in a variety of recording studios; time to prepare for another very busy phase at the end of the month and on throughout August and into September. At this rate, I'll soon have to start taking Vitamin D supplements to compensate for a lack of sunlight!

A few days ago, Big Finish released a new fourth Doctor adventure, written by Andrew Smith. Andrew is a writer I have a particular admiration for and not only is he a regular contributor to Big Finish's audio output, but he's also written for the Doctor Who series on television. It's always a treat to work on one of his scripts and I'm very much looking forward to listening to The Movellan Grave. My character, Robin Lyon, has a Scottish accent - as does Andrew; it's just that he was born into his and I did my best not to offend him by getting it wrong!

Here are some details of the story:

Doctor Who: The Movellan Grave

When an archaeological dig in 1980s England finds a Movellan power pack buried amongst Iron Age artefacts, the Doctor and Romana have no choice but to investigate. And what they discover worries them very much indeed.



A Movellan ship is buried under the ground. Soon the robotic enemies of the Daleks are making their way to the surface, but they are not the biggest threat humanity faces.

Because on board this ship is the greatest weapon the Movellans have ever devised. A weapon that could stop the Daleks forever... and anything else that gets in their way.


Tom Baker  The Doctor      Lalla Ward  Romana  
Camilla Power Carrie Pierce   Polly Walker Commander Narina   Chris Jarman Chenek   
John Banks Robin Lyon   Jane Slavin Mary
 
Written by Andrew Smith
Directed by Nicholas Briggs 


Some further thoughts and reflections from Andrew via the Big Finish web site:

We caught up with writer of The Movellan Grave, Andrew Smith, who originally wrote for Doctor Who, Tom Baker and Lalla Ward on TV back in 1980, with the story Full Circle, “It was a thrill to write for Tom and Lalla again after so very many years, and to again put words into the mouths of that excellent Tardis pairing. When I introduced myself to Tom at the recording and pointed out that I'd written one of his TV stories in 1980, he said, "Oh I was terribly grumpy back then," and then proceeded throughout the day to be as sweet and funny as you could imagine. It remains one of my happiest Big Finish recording days. I look forward very much to hearing the final product."

"I approached writing the Movellans by re-watching Destiny of the Daleks with a notebook in hand. It's a story I have great fondness for, and I have clear memories of watching it in 1979. The Movellans had been trailed quite prominently in the press, especially actress Suzanne Danielle as Agella, and their appearance didn't disappoint."

"I found their vulnerabilities in that story a little problematic, particularly the fact that they could be immobilised by having their power pack snatched from their belt. So I've addressed that in my story."

"The Movellans have been great fun to write. It's been a pleasure to - quite literally, as you'll hear - resurrect them."

 

* * * * *

I recorded an audio book last week; it was quite a 'full on' experience and I very much enjoyed working with a fabulous producer, who I hadn't worked with before. The book and audio book are scheduled for release in September - quite a quick production process - and my fingers are firmly crossed that our intentions have been properly realised. There are occasions when I get a bit of a 'tingle' about a work project and if all has gone as hoped with this particular project, it should be worth listening to. Not long to wait till publication, so I'll talk more about it in September.


* * * * *

Alas, I must end on a sad note. Trevor Baxter died a couple of days ago and I wanted to mention him as he was such a lovely man and was so beloved as 'Professor George Litefoot' in the long running Big Finish series, 'Jago & Litefoot'. I was fortunate to be in the first series of J&L stories - in fact, I'm listening to it now as I write - and I'm sure that Trevor will be greatly missed by all who knew and worked with him, as well as those who love the stories he recorded for Big Finish.

Again, some thoughts from the Big Finish team:

Trevor Baxter will always be a familiar name to fans of Big Finish and Doctor Who as Professor George Litefoot. His first unforgettable appearance was in The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the Doctor Who serial from February 1977, alongside Tom Baker, Louise Jameson and his partner-in-crime Christopher Benjamin.

After graduating from RADA in 1951, alongside names such as Joan Collins and Gerald Harper, Trevor Baxter has had an illustrious career on stage and screen, as well as behind the mike at Big Finish. Notable stage performances include David Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre, performing with the RSC, and touring Shakespeare in South America.

Trevor was also a playwright as well as actor, his plays Lies, Office Games and Undertaking all opening in London. He also adapted greats from Oscar Wilde, with a national tour of Dorian Gray in 2003 and Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime touring in 2005.

He continued to perform past a typical retirement age and to write and perform on stage, screen and the mike. Trevor has been an invaluable part of Big Finish and since May 2009 the Jago and Litefoot series has delighted listeners and remained a fan favourite, the last volume to be recorded was released just this year. With 13 series in 8 years, Trevor and Christopher have been some of our most prolific and joyful performers.

Trevor will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with family and friends at this tragic time.

David Richardson: “In the nine years that I knew and worked with him, Trevor Baxter never stopped laughing. Even when he first joined Big Finish for the Companion Chronicle The Mahogany Murderers, he was not a well man, but his illness never seemed to dampen his joy of life. He loved reading - he didn’t own a TV but read books on his Kindle voraciously. He loved classical music, and could talk about it with passion and at length. He was a hugely intelligent man with great taste, and yet he never made you feel uncomfortable if you didn’t match his intelligence or taste. It was simply a joy to listen to him talking passionately."

"He also loved Jago and Litefoot, which kept him busy in the final years of his life, and he would listen to every single episode in every single release off the press, and write to me and tell me what he loved (which was usually everything). He adored working with Big Finish, but most of all he adored his co-star Christopher Benjamin, who he would tease mercilessly throughout every hour of every recording day. Those precious days (I think there might have been 60 of them) that I spent in their company were some of the happiest of my working life."

"Sometimes we would be crying with laughter, tears streaming down our faces, at the glorious
badinage between takes. I will always remember Toby, our studio engineer, turning towards me during a break and saying, ‘I absolutely love Trevor. I’ve never met anyone else like him. He’s unique’ That’s how we all felt, and feel."

"Such a sad day. Doctor Who has lost one of its legends, and we’ve lost a dear friend.”



* * * * *


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

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Island of Dr Moreau

Good afternoon - and what a hot and sunny afternoon it is! I'm now getting into a very busy phase of recording activity, which means I have been and will continue to be, tucked up in 'warm' and windowless studios; how fab!

As a result of all this studio time, I'm afraid that this update is going to be more of an information 'blurt' than a proper posting; I need to be travelling very soon and I'm already on the foothills of lateness! And so, without further etc etc, here are some details of the latest audio release:

The Island of Dr Moreau

Shipwrecked in the South Pacific, Edward Prendick finds unlikely salvation in the company of Montgomery – a disgraced medic bound for distant shores, in charge of an unusual cargo.





Their destination is a mysterious jungle isle where the night is split by terrible cries, and where inhuman creatures walk upright on two legs. When Prendick meets the man who lays down the law, he realises that his nightmare is only just beginning.

For this is… The Island of Doctor Moreau.





Ronald Pickup (Doctor Moreau), John Heffernan (Edward Prendick), Enzo Cilenti (Montgomery),
David Shaw-Parker (Captain/ Constans), John Banks (Mate-LV/ M'Ling/ Satyr-Man),  
Tim Bentinck (Helmar/ Captain John Davies/ Ape-Man), Daniel Goode (Seaman/ Mate-I, Dog-Man).


Written by HG Wells

Dramatised and Directed by Ken Bentley 

 * * * * *

As a slight afterthought: if you are a Wells fan and would like to hear some of his best known novels, unabridged and read by me, scroll down this blog for further information and details of how to obtain copies (should you wish!) from Fantom Films, who published the stories earlier this year.


...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