"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

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 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 165* 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, HarperCollins, RNIB, W.F. Howes, Little Brown Group, Penguin Random House, Games Workshop, Orion, Fantom Films & Ladbroke Audio.

(*figures at April 2019)

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...

Blackshields

Blackshields
The Broken Chain

Psychic Awakening

The Hollow Mountain

The Hollow Mountain
Vaults of Terra Book 2

The Moggotkin of Nurgle

Released January 2019...

Released January 2019...

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Games Workshop

Games Workshop

Friday, 26 April 2019

Dark Imperium: Plague War

Just over a year after the release of Dark Imperium, the story of the resurrected Ultramarines Primarch continues in Dark Imperium: Plague War.

Intent on rebuilding Ultramar, the returned primarch Roboute Guilliman wages war on the treacherous Death Guard - but as he battles his corrupted brother, the intervention of a greater power threatens all he works for.



In the void and upon the worlds of Greater Ultramar, the battle for the Imperium continues. Intent on rebuilding his home realm and using it as base to reconstruct the ravaged stellar empire of mankind, the returned primarch Roboute Guilliman proceeds with his war to drive Mortarion and his Death Guard Traitor Legion from the domain of the Ultramarines. 





 

But when Guilliman brings his brother to battle upon the diseased plains of Parmenio, the intervention of a greater power in their fraternal struggle threatens to upend the Imperial Regent’s understanding of the galaxy, and his place within it. 

Primarchs and ideologies clash in this second, thrilling part of the Dark Imperium trilogy. 




Written by Guy Haley, Produced by Kylia Whitehead & Narrated by John Banks

Audiobook running time: 12 hours and 35 minutes


©2019 Games Workshop Limited (P)2019 Games Workshop Limited


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

The Imprecations of Daemons


Imprecate: (to) utter (a curse) or invoke (evil) against someone or something. 


Good morning and following swiftly on from yesterday's posting, here's an audio drama I've been looking forward to listening to since we recorded it late last year. Here are details of the story and some fabulous artwork:

The Imprecations of Daemons

 

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar audio drama

A warrior of the Stormcast Eternals returns to the place of her birth, long before she was reforged as a celestial hero. Only by coming to terms with her past can she save her home for the future.




Summoned by grave tidings, the Stormcast Malleon returns home to the place of her birth, the Iron Fastness. Many years ago her father, Vaneth, a warrior priest of Sigmar, helped banish a cult of Chaos that had taken root in their lands. But devils do not rest easily and a perfidious evil has risen again. Malleon finds much changed since the days before her reforging and the tragic events that tore her family apart. Only by reconciling with her past can she hope to exorcise the daemons of the present and purge the darkness for good. 



John Banks, Beth Chalmers, Gesella Ohaka, Richard Reed & Fiona Skinner

Written by Nick Kyme & Produced by Matt Renshaw 


'My hand the hammer… my will the shield.'


Running time: 71 minutes


* * * * *


The Imprecations of Daemons was my last recording in the original Black Library studio; when I return next month to record an audio book, all will be new. I'm intrigued to see the results of the re-development and expansion that's been going on over the past few months. In the meantime, I hope my copy of the CD arrives soon; this is an excellent story performed by a fabulous bunch of actors - can't wait!


...all for now; more very, very soon!
 

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Outremer

The first of this week's featured new releases is the 'mighty' Outremer, recorded recently for Audible Studios, in collaboration with ace producer Neil Gardner. Rolling in at an impressive 39 hours & 38 minutes, this is without doubt, the most 'challenging' audio book (book!) I've so far encountered.

Researching myriad pronunciations, marking up and highlighting the text in preparation to record, took something like 80-90 hours and for some of the prep, unable to find answers even via the internet, I had to directly ask colleagues if they could help me out, as indeed did Neil. I am grateful indeed to Susan Omand, Graeme Lyon and David Monteath, who very generously offered suggestions as to how a number of Irish Gaelic personal names should be pronounced.




Of all the many and various audio books I've recorded since this particular aspect of my acting career began about six years ago, Outremer has been by far the most demanding, both to prepare and to record and in that assessment, I include recordings of the unabridged NRSV Bible and the 1400 + characters and 215 hours of The Niccolo Books.

To give you an idea of what my text looked like in the studio, here's a screen shot example of a not untypical page (left), alongside an unmarked up page producer Neil had on his side of the glass (right). Part of Neil's job as producer, is to exactly follow my narration in case I unknowingly fluff a word or otherwise somehow go 'off-piste'.

In this example, my marked-up page features two characters; the adolescent 'Paul', highlighted in green and the much older man, 'Theodoric' highlighted in purple. Other colours within the dialogue are to bring my attention to 'tricky' pronunciations/words and text left unmarked, tells me to use my neutral narrator voice.

Much of the text was italicised, as you can see from Neil's screen shot. The scenes written in italics convey the background story to the main narrative and take place at an Inn, where ultimately, 15 characters are in conversation with each other - the mark up for those scenes took quite a while and looked dazzling on the page - as I'm sure you can imagine!



























But enough of the technical stuff - on to the story! Here are some details:

"An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.

Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakeable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles: religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.

Sometime between AD 1110 and AD 1120, in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights - the founding Knights Templar - recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former advanced civilisation beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée, Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.

Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms - from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives will ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic which sweeps across England, Scotland and France to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth - and crack the ancient code - behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself."


Written by D.N. Carter, Produced by Neil Gardner & Narrated by John Banks

Length: 39 hours - 38 minutes


©2017 D. N. Carter (P)2019 Audible, Ltd



 


I'm deeply grateful to Neil for his terrific support throughout the recording of Outremer and very proud of the fact that we completed recording in seven days, rather than the scheduled eight.

With any luck, we'll have been acceptably accurate in our pronunciations, engaging with our story-telling and hopefully, 'easy on the ear'.


...all for now, more very soon! 

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

In The Closet Of The Vatican

Well, I did say there was more coming soon, though perhaps I always do - mea culpa! And speaking of 'mea culpa' (what a segue!), here are details of a non-fiction audio book released today from Audible Studios:

"In the Closet of the Vatican is a fascinating description and evaluation of financial, sexual and political misconduct throughout the Catholic Church at a time when new revelations are being uncovered each and every week. This audiobook explores the underlying causes and includes interviews with numerous Cardinals and other individuals, some of whom cannot be named. 


Martel reveals financial scandals in the Vatican bank; political collusion with unsavoury regimes, including Castro’s Cuba and Pinochet’s Chile; sexual abuse and hypocrisy over homosexuality. In this explosive account, Martel goes to the heart of corruption in the Catholic Church and inside the Vatican itself."

Narrated by John Banks & Produced by Ben Carpenter

22 hours - 19 minutes


©2019 Frederic Martel (P)2019 Audible Studios

* * * * *


This was a tricky and challenging book to work on and I'm grateful indeed to producer Ben Carpenter for his considerable input and support throughout the seven day recording period.We had actually scheduled eight studio days, but wrapped it up a day and a half early - which was pleasing in the sense of knowing that we'd been efficient and that the oceans of prep this book required, had paid off. 

In saying that, we still took phenomenal care to ensure, as accurately as possible, that personal and place names were pronounced correctly. On occasion, we had to choose not to be absolutely accurate, which seems odd perhaps. As an example, General Augusto Pinochet, former President of Chile; here in the UK, 'Pinochet' is pronounced 'pin-oh-shay', whereas a Chilean friend of mine assures me it should be 'pin-oh-CHett'. Ben and I discussed this and numerous other, similar examples, throughout the recording and a lot of time was spent deciding which was the better option - go with what the majority of listeners would identify as being 'correct' or being strictly accurate and running the risk of actually sounding 'incorrect'. 

With a running length of over 22 hours, the book had hundreds of names and locations to research and the actual amount of (unpaid!) preparation soon racked up into the many tens of hours - hence being so pleased that after such a full on effort, we managed to complete ahead of schedule.

Non-fiction can be a strange genre to record as so many decisions have to be made, in addition to those alluded to above, with regard to characters who are directly quoted. Should the narrator attempt to sound like the person whose actual words are being used, always assuming that it's even possible to discover how a particular person might have sounded in real life? If I'm voicing quotations by Winston Churchill, should I attempt to mimic his vocal idiosyncrasies. In a non-fiction audio book I recorded on the Russian Revolution, should I have given Stalin a Russian accent, or even more specifically, a Georgian accent? Should personal and place names be 'Anglicised' or should we attempt to voice them in their respective 'native' tongues? In this book on The Vatican, and indeed, in the other non-fiction books I have recorded, the producer and I have always chosen to 'flavour' a character voice, but not to mimic, which I think makes sense. For this book, Ben and I also decided not to 'anglicise' and made a concerted effort to voice 'authentic' sounding names as far as we were able, though given the 'catholic' nature of Catholicism, we encountered people and place names from all over the world - and some of them were mighty tricky to pronounce!

Regular visitors to these pages may well have little interest in a non-fiction book on the politics of The Vatican, however, if it is of interest to you, I hope you enjoy listening - I'll be there with you! 

As is often the case, there's a short audio sample from the book on the Audible web site; just type my name into the search window and anything I've done, for audible.co.uk or other publishers, should be there. It's perhaps worth saying that many, perhaps all, (200 +) of my Big Finish audio drama recordings might also be available via the audible web site, though as the cast lists are often long, it may be that I don't always make the cut - I think they list a maximum of five actors per recording.

But enough; my ramblings are running almost as long as the book, so I'll end by saying - that's...


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

Monday, 8 April 2019

The Palace of Memory...

...and Other Stories! Guess which one I'm in? You got it, I'm in 'Other Stories', reprising the role of Prince Maesa in Hungerfiend by Guy Haley to be exact - and what fun it was to record.Here are some details:

The Palace of Memory and Other Stories

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar audio drama anthology

From the nightmarish labyrinth of the City of Mirrors to the wilds of Ghur and a rebellious town in the lands of Death, three full-cast audios explore dark corners of the Mortal Realms and the heroes and villains who battle within them.



The gods are at war. As the Mortal Realms plunge into darkness and despair, there are an ambitious few who seek to turn these fortunes in their favour. Within the nightmarish, labyrinthine halls of Shadespire, a famed Lord-Castellant must escape the Mirrored City to cement his legend forever.


While upon the desolate plains of Shyish, a vampire queen faces the fires of rebellion that threaten her dominion, and in Ghur, an aelven wanderer journeys to cheat the God of Death to resurrect his lost love.

The three audio dramas in this collection showcase the vast power and untold riches that await those who are brave enough to claim them, if only they dare.


The Palace of Memory by David Guymer
Black Atonement by David Annandale
Hungerfiend by Guy Haley







Three great heroes – Hamilcar Bear-eater, Neferata and Prince Maesa – each face very personal trials that could see them fall into darkness in these three tales that beautifully evoke bitter melancholy...

Performed by: John Banks, Steve Conlin, Andrew Fettes, Emma Gregory, Matthew Hunt, Toby Longworth, Carla Mendonca, Melvyn Rawlinson, Richard Reed, David Seddon, Genevieve Swallow & Jo Woodcock

Produced by Matt Renshaw

* * * * *

I noticed earlier today, that the audible web site had me listed as 'Joan Banks' in The Wicked and The Damned, released at the end of March. Thankfully, a few emails later, dear Joan is no more and the book is now properly 'cast'; thanks to Matt R, the BL team and the audible.co.uk crew for sorting things out so speedily - Joan and I are most grateful! 

Lots more to come soon; I'm back in the studio later this week to record a fabulous crime thriller book which I'm 'dying' to tell you all about. However, we'll all have to be patient for a little while longer as that's ...

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

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Wicked and The Damned

Horror upon Horror! At least, unlike the first release of this new series, Perdition's Flame, I'm properly and fully involved with this collection, as I'm narrating the linking story. Here are some details:

The Wicked and the Damned

A Warhammer Horror portmanteau

Drawn together by mysterious circumstances, three strangers meet in the mists of a desolate cemetery world. As they relate their stories, the threads of fate are drawn around them, and destiny awaits…


On a misty cemetery world, three strangers are drawn together through mysterious circumstances. Each of them has a tale to tell of a narrow escape from death. Amid the toll of funerary bells and the creep and click of mortuary-servitors, the truth is confessed.

But whose story can be trusted? Whose recollection is warped, even unto themselves? For these are strange stories of the uncanny, the irrational and the spine-chillingly frightening, where horrors abound and the dark depths of the human psyche are unearthed.


Narrated by John Banks, Doug Bradley, Emma Gregory & Richard Reed

Written by Josh Reynolds, David Annandale and Phil Kelly 

 Produced by Matt Renshaw

Running time 10hours - 42 minutes

* * * * *

And that's about it for this quick update; as I often say, I've been busy either preparing or recording or both over the last several weeks and having now completed work on two very difficult and challenging books (more details to follow!), I'm thoroughly enjoying the process of prepping next week's project, about which, there will be more to say once I've been given permission!

In the meantime, thanks as ever for stopping by!


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


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

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