"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

Dawn of Fire Book 2

Dawn of Fire Book 2
coming soon...

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 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 187* audio books & stories I've recorded since March 2013,
including the unabridged New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, for companies including audible.co.uk, 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 2020)

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...

Dawn of Fire Book 1

Dawn of Fire Book 1
Avenging Son

The Reverie

The Reverie
available soon

Soul Wars

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

The Revelation of The Word

The Moggotkin of Nurgle

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Dawn of Fire Book 1: Avenging Son

Thursday, 31 December 2020

New Year's Eve...

And so, the end of an extremely torrid year is now drawing swiftly to a close - thank goodness! 
Just before 2020 fianlly bites the dust, there are the final two releases of the year to mention and here are some details:

 

The Chaos Cycle: Part II Chains of Legacy

After defeating the Warlord of the Turan Khar, Rylan Lauchlin has assumed his place...and his troubles. 


 

Deprived of the ancient magic that allowed the Khar Unity to exist in harmony, their society is slowly dying, and it is now up to Rylan to save it. But only one man has the knowledge to release the magic of the Core - the same man who locked it away in the first place - and that man is imprisoned within Rylan himself.

On the other side of the world, the rulers of the Kingdoms have taken advantage of the devastation of Karikesh to mount a counterinvasion. Gil and Ashra find themselves pressed to protect the people of Malikar from a genocidal campaign aimed at driving them back into the Black Lands.

 

Narrated by John Banks

Run time: 10 hours - 59 minutes

 

©2020 ML Spencer (P)2020 Podium Audio

 

Followed quickly by:

 

Path of The Ranger Book 2:

War has broken out in the North. The Corrupt Lord of the Ice has invaded Norghana with a host from the Frozen Continent. Will the king and the Rangers manage to stop him, or will they die in the attempt?

Darthor is seeking to dethrone King Uthar. He is on his way to conquer Norghana and take the crown. He has invaded the kingdom and has a host from the Frozen Continent at his command; Wild Ones of the Ice, Snow Trolls, Albino Ogres, Semi-Giants, Tundra Dwellers, Arcanes of the Glaciers, and creatures unlike anything anybody has ever seen before.

Uthar gathers together his armies and prepares to repel him. But not all the Norghanian nobles are with the king. The Western League does not support him, and they want to regain the crown for the West, for the Olafstones.

Lasgol and his partners will have to overcome an arduous second year of instruction at the Camp if they want to become Rangers one day. The tests will be far harder and the effort required much greater. Rivalries will surface, but so will companionship and even love. He will find out that he does not know the whole truth about what happened to his parents or about his new friend Camu. New mysteries, which he will have to investigate and solve, will arise and drive him to confront life-and-death situations.

Will Lasgol and his friends survive the second year of training? Will they survive the war? Will he succeed in solving the mysteries that surround him? Will he find betrayal...and discover the true enemy?


Narrated by John Banks

                                                           Run time: 12 hours - 7 minutes

 

©2020 Pedro Urvi (P)2020 Podium Audio

 

 * * * * * 

 

Before I wrap things up here, I just want to say a big 'thank you' to you for visiting these pages over the last year; it is greatly appreciated. Hopefully, in a short time from now, the pandemic will come under the control of the vaccines and we can all go back to living our lives to the full. As we welcome in the new year; with any luck, this time in 2021, will once again, look something like this:

 


 

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

 

Happy New Year! 

 

Monday, 21 December 2020

...and then there was this:

Having held my silence for what seems like an age, I'm very pleased to say, that the first instalment of a vast new storyline, Dawn of Fire, is finally here. My recording of Guy Haley's Avenging Son, was officially released on 17th December and is now available via all the usual outlets.

 

Here are some details:

 

Dawn of Fire Book 1: Avenging Son

As the Indomitus Crusade spreads out across the galaxy, one battlefleet must face a dread Slaughter Host of Chaos. Their success or failure may define the very future of the crusade - and the Imperium.

 


 

A great darkness has befallen the galaxy, and the armies of Chaos are rampant. To survive, humanity must retaliate and take back what they have lost. By the will of the reborn primarch, Roboute Guilliman, is the Indomitus Crusade launched - a military undertaking that eclipses all others in known history. From the Throneworld of Terra does the Avenging Son hurl his fleets, their mission the very salvation of mankind.

As vessels in their thousands burn through the cold void, the attention of Fleetmistress VanLeskus turns to the Machorta Sound - a region under attack by a dreaded Slaughter Host of the Dark Gods. The success of the Indomitus Crusade will be determined by this conflict, and the desperate mission of Battlegroup Saint Aster, led by Space Marine Lieutenant Messinius. Even then it is but a prelude to the forthcoming bloodshed.


The new Warhammer 40,000 saga begins here.

 

Written by Guy Haley, Produced by Tara Rawson & Narrated by John Banks 

 

Length: 13 hours - 46 minutes 

 

 

©2020 Games Workshop Limited (P)2020 Games Workshop Limited 

 

* * * * * 


I think it's fair to say, there has been some confusion surrounding Avenging Son and perhaps I should briefly attempt to clarify the situation as far as I understand it. The original audio version of Avenging Son, became available, I think, sometime in August 2020 and it was recorded by a different narrator. My version of the story was recorded in early October and released a few days ago. As far as I am aware, all the reviews of the original have now been taken down from the audible.co.uk website, though for a short time, my name appeared alongside them.

 

At almost £30 per copy, I'm not sure many Black Library listeners will rush to buy an alternative recording of a story they already have, which is perfectly understandable. Perhaps BL are considering some kind of offer to replace the original with the new version; on that, I have no idea, though I think such a gesture would be welcomed. 

 

I don't often post reviews here, but as this has been quite a unique process, around which, there is still a degree of uncertainty, here are edited versions of the only two reviews, currently posted on the audible site, which might shed a little more light:


 
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars   Performance: 5 out of 5 stars   Story: 5 out of 5 stars
 

Thaipugg 19-12-20
 

Now it's fixed, it's amazing!

 

I listened to the first variation of the book and wrote a terrible review, based on the voice acting, it completely ruined it. 

 

Flash forward to this iteration! The Black Library remade this audio book after all the complaints. The legendary John Banks voiced it this time, and it's absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it, it's a home run this time around! 

 

 
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars   Performance: 5 out of 5 stars   Story: 5 out of 5 stars
 
  • James Lloyd Plowman 20-12-20 
  •  

Better than the original version 

 

For those of you who didn’t buy it the first time around, Black Library put out another version of this months ago narrated by a different reader. 

 

My guess is that the backlash from the first version was so bad that BL conceded and brought in John Banks for an emergency re-reading, and are probably going to have him reading the rest of the series too. I won’t say that this new version is completely worth having to buy a second time, but it is a marked improvement over the original, somehow even managing to cut the reading time down a couple hours. Definitely worth reconsideration. 

 

My thanks to James and Thaipugg and to others, on a variety of social media sites, who have expressed their support over recent weeks; it is very much appreciated!

If, by some means, you do get hold of this new version of the story, I hope you enjoy it.



 

* * * * *


There's more work to do before I take a break for Christmas, so I'll wrap things up and simply say, that's ...


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

 

Sunday, 6 December 2020

...and other stories!

Good afternoon and thanks, as ever, for stopping by! Another gap in updating the pages here alas, though for reasons, I'm sure all regular visitors will be familiar with by now; having lots of work and no free time, just about covers it. Some of the recording projects I've been involved with recently, are now becoming available and there are more releases to come before the end of the year, though for now, here are details of the latest:

Nexus and Other Stories

A Warhammer 40,000 anthology

Take your first steps into the adrenaline-fuelled fiction of the 41st Millennium with a thrilling collection of tales, including an action-packed novella pitting noble Ultramarines against sinister necrons.

 

Within this book you will find Nexus, a fantastic new novella by Thomas Parrott.

In a galaxy beset by war, where the Adeptus Astartes are all that stand against annihilation, the Ultramarines are exemplar – noble, honourable and oathbound to the protection of mankind. Where the predations of the alien, the witch and the heretic threaten the Imperium, the Angels of Death fight to oppose them.

Brother-Sergeant Allectius wages a brutal war of attrition against a seemingly endless xenos foe. But when the vile necrons unleash a mysterious pall over him and the people he protects, Allectius must take his fight beyond the walls… for more than just victory, now their very survival is at stake.

Also included in this book is a host of awesome short stories to give you a flavour of the many warring armies that exist within the worlds of Warhammer 40,000.

 


Nexus by Thomas Parrott
Kraken by Chris Wraight
Redeemer by Guy Haley
The Test of Faith by Thomas Parrott
The Darkling Hours by Rachel Harrison
Lightning Run by Peter McLean
Missing in Action by Dan Abnett
The Crystal Cathedral by Danie Ware
To Speak as One by Guy Haley
Where Dere's Da Warp Dere's a Way by Mike Brooks
Redemption on Dal'yth by Phil Kelly
Void Crossed by J C Stearns
Light of a Crystal Sun by Josh Reynolds
War in the Museum by Robert Rath
Headhunter by Steve Parker
Duty Unto Death by Marc Collins

 

Narrated by Andrew Wincott, Richard Reed, Emma Gregory, John Banks & Toby Longworth

 

NB: running time for this antholgy is listed by Black Library as 8h-47m and by Audible as 18h-48m 


 * * * * *


These stories are particularly orientated towards an older child/young adult listener:

Descendants of the Fall: Publisher's Pack

 


Contains books one and two of Descendants of the Fall:

Warbringer, Book 1

Centuries ago, the world fell. From the ashes rose a terrible new species - the Tangata. Now they wage war against the kingdoms of man. And humanity is losing.

Recruited straight from his academy, 20-year-old Lukys hopes the frontier will make a soldier out of him. But Tangata are massing in the South, and the allied armies are desperate. They will do anything to halt the enemy advance - including sending untrained men and women into battle. Determined to survive, Lukys seeks aid from the only man who seems to care: Romaine, the last warrior of an extinct kingdom.

Meanwhile, the queen’s archivist leads an expedition deep beneath the earth. She seeks to uncover the secrets of the Gods. Their magic has been lost to the ages, yet artifacts remain, objects of power that could turn the tide of the war. But salvation is not all that waits beneath the surface. Something else slumbers in the darkness. Something old. Something evil.

Wrath of the Forgotten, Book 2

A war is brewing between the kingdoms of humanity. Bound and broken, Lukys stumbles through the darkness. Whispers come from all around, the voices of the Tangata, inhuman enemies of mankind. He should already be dead. But the Tangata have a secret, one that might finally end 10 long years of war. If only he could escape and bring word to his people. But what chance does a failed soldier have against the terrifying powers of the Tangata?

Meanwhile, the queen’s archivist flees the wrath of her former master. A foreign king offers asylum, but the man is an enemy of her people. And his aid will cost far more than just her loyalty - he seeks the magic of the Gods. With the hounds drawing close, Erika must commit the ultimate betrayal to keep her freedom. Is she willing to pay the price?

                               

                             Written by Aaron Hodges & Narrated by John Banks

                                               Length: 16 hours - 14 minutes

 

 * * * * *


Originally released as individual downloads, Heirs of Grimnir is now available as a CD collection:

Heirs of Grimnir

A Realmslayer audio drama

When the Runefather of the Unbak lodge is killed, his Runesons set out to find his killer and avenge him – with the throne going to he who wins the day!

 



The mighty Unbak lodge is beheaded. Runefather Aruk-Grimnir and his heir, Angruk, have been assassinated in their hearth by a vile and mysterious foe. To restore the honour of the Unbak and determine who will take up the mantle of Grimnir, the fearsome Runesons declare that whoever can slay the killer of their kin will be declared Runefather. 

It is a perilous task that will take the Fyreslayers into the heart of enemy lands, battling the most ancient foes of the duardin: the accursed skaven and fiendish grots. It is a deed no true son of Grimnir would turn from. Can the Runesons restore the honour of their lodge, or will they fall alongside their father and brother?


Performed by John Banks, Cliff Chapman, Steve Conlin, Sean Connolly, and Stephen Perring

Written by David Guymer and Produced by Matt Renshaw

  Running time 1 hour and 12 minutes

 

* * * * * 

 

Last week's audiobook was completed on Thursday and I start work on the final book of 2020 tomorrow, so I fully intend to savour the rest of today's 'free' time. More soon, but for this update, that's...


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

 

Monday, 2 November 2020

"No sun, dusk, no sun...

 ...No sun, dusk, no sun. No sun, no morn, dusk, no sun, no moon. No sun, (the dawn) no morn, dusk, no sun, no moon. No proper time of day. No shade, (bees!) no shade, (bees!) no shade, (bees!) no shine, no birds (butterflies!) No shade, (bees!) no shade, (bees!) (butterflies!) no shade, (bees!) no shine, no birds ...

November."

No idea? Listen to Opus 4 by Art of Noise; quite beautiful.

Based on Thomas Hood’s 1844 poem “November”, also titled “No!”, which is about how dreary London is in November.

I'm not sure that London is dreary in November, or the rest of Britain for that matter; it is what it is and at the moment, it's a bit of everything, sunshine, showers and windy weather. Just a regular autumn really and the Art of Noise track sprang to mind as I sat down to write this long overdure update and for the second time in succession, a posting that begins with a poem!

I can't believe it was September 5th when I last updated here; the time has gone by all too quickly. As I mentioned in that posting, I had been busy and was about to get a whole lot busier, which has proven to be the case; this last weekend was my first 'time-out' since the beginning of August, during which time, I've recorded seven full length audio books, two short stories as part of an anthology, an animation series, a corporate voice-over and a Games Workshop trailer, Direchasm, which appears above. Today marks the beginning of prep for the next audio book, though, as I've been absent from these pages for much too long, I decided to put prep on hold for a little while.

The week preceeding the September posting had me in a professional studio for the first time in many months; I was at Warhammer World to record the first of two releases to mention this month. Here are some details and some amazing artwork for The Reverie, part of the Warhammer Horror range: 


The Reverie

Three travellers are drawn to the Reverie, the wound in the world of the Angels Resplendent. Knight, poet, scholar, each will face their shadows amidst a deeper darkness.... 



Exalting war and art in harmony, the warrior-artisans of the Angels Resplendent have forged a radiant haven amidst a blighted galaxy. But an ancient sin stains their honour – a wound in their world that will never heal. Ignorant souls would call it a forest, but those who watch over it know better.

Nothing natural grows in the Reverie’s snow-swept glades or wanders amongst the unnatural things that do, save for the intruders who trespass on its pain. Some seek revelation or redemption, others dream of winning a place amongst the Resplendent, but all come because they must.

Three travellers are drawn into the conspiracy that wards the wound – a knight haunted by his lost humanity, an aging poet who refuses to go gently into the night and a scholar who yearns to redeem mankind. All must face their shadows in the Reverie, but only one shall gaze upon its heart, where a deeper darkness beats.


    Written by Peter Fehervari, Produced by Tara Rawson and Narrated by John Banks

                                                Length: 9 hours - 41 minutes 

 

             ©2020 Games Workshop Limited (P)2020 Games Workshop Limited

 

The second recent audiobook release is the first of a seven part series from Podium Audio, Path of The Ranger, aimed at the Young Adult market and this is the first of those stories; The Traitor's Son:

 

                                       The Traitor's Son 

A kingdom in danger, a great betrayal, a boy seeking to redeem his father's honor. Will he succeed in exonerating him and saving the realm from an enemy in the shadows before it’s too late? 

 

Lasgol is the son of the traitor; the man who betrayed the kingdom and tried to kill the king. At the age of 15, he has endured a hard childhood. In his small village in the North, where he’s cornered and hated, his only companions are the mountains and ever-present snow. Yet he refuses to believe that his father is guilty, even though the king himself was a witness to the betrayal.

Lasgol is determined to clear his father's name, and to do this, he has only one option: attend the School of Rangers, a secret place where the respected and feared defenders of the lands of the kingdom are trained for four years. Going there is insane: Hate and death await him. But as the son of a Ranger, he's entitled to attend.

At the Camp he will find himself involved in political intrigues, disloyalties, and fights. He will encounter hatred and fearsome enemies, but also a handful of friends; other novices who are out of place like himself, determined to do whatever is necessary to make it through the first year alive.

 

          Written by Pedro Urvi, Produced by Emily Derr and Narrated by John Banks 

                                               Length: 11 hours - 59 minutes


                                             ©2020 Pedro Urvi (P)2020 Podium Audio

 

And that just about wraps up today's update; there's still a great deal to do before the end of the year and lots still to be released, so I hope you'll come back to visit again soon!


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

Saturday, 5 September 2020

...to autumn

 

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,

   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

      For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. 

 

                                                                                                                     John Keats 


You know, I have read these lines so many times, yet I've just noticed, that the whole stanza is a single sentence. I love this poem, 'To Autumn' by Keats; but you knew that.
 
Autumn is my favourite time of year; late summer has always felt like the end or culmination of the year and autumn, the beginning of a new cycle and a new year. For some reason, at this time of year, I've always experienced a sense of excitement about the future and it's endless possibilities. Perhaps as a consequence of our worldwide collective fate this year, my sense of change and renewal is even stronger and I look forward to what's to come with great enthusiasm and optimism. I'm already aware, that professionally at least, renewal is well under way.
 
Allow me to elucidate. Regular dippers into this blog, will know that gaps and delays in updating, usually correspond to periods of activity, rather than the opposite and that is certainly true of current circumstances.
 
As this month of September began, I found myself working on three concurrent series of audio book recordings, along with various other 'one-off' projects, to keep things lively and interesting. Less than a week old and September has offered up another audio book series and a further variety of 'one-offs', which will keep me very fully occupied, potentially for several months, if not several years to come; 'mellow fruitfulness' indeed!  
 
Because of the pandemic and lockdown, there is inevitably a bit of a gap in terms of output and so, this month, I have nothing to talk about in terms of new releases, though, be assured, things are getting busier now that lockdown is easing. In addition to home recordings, I've just spent the last week in a professional studio, recording a new audio book; the first time working away from home since February! And there's more to come very soon. 
 
A couple of years ago, as mentioned in these pages at the time (still here if you scroll down and go to 'older posts') I found myself working 'at capacity', as I described it, on a series of books by Dorothy Dunnett, 'The House of Niccolo'. In some ways, it was unhealthy to do so much in such a concentrated period of time; lack of sleep being a paramount concern, though the work itself benefitted I think, from being part of a seamless process. Despite the lack of rest and anything approaching a 'normal' life, my voice and performance levels were fully tuned up; in fact, for that fifteen week period of intense activity, there was never a time when I wasn't in work mode and I ended up recording something like 252 hours of narration, along with four audio drama productions.
 
Clearly, that level of output would eventually become impossible to sustain; book recording towards the end of the fifteen weeks, had become physically uncomfortable, as sitting for such extended periods of time, put bizarre stresses on my body. I promised myself that I would never repeat that level of work, though it's starting to look like the next several weeks will be just as intense. Just thinking about what has to be done between now and Christmas is almost too overwhelming to contemplate, so I'll have to mentally compartmentalise each project, so that I don't get ahead of myself. 
 
I'm currently recording a book a week and the next one starts on Monday, so I have homework to do today and tomorrow. I've already done quite a bit of work on the text, so it ought to be just a case of reminding myself of the narrative and characters, rather than having to start from scratch.
 
I can't close a posting without adding an image and a bit of 'media'. The Drama Channel here in the UK, is currently broadcasting the entirety of 'Allo, 'Allo, a tv sit-com I worked on in the late '80's (!!!) and to coincide with the re-run, I was asked to record an interview podcast and if I can sort out the tec, it should appear via this link,  'Allo, 'Allo, along with an image of me from the closing credits of a particular episode.  
 
Apologies for posting a link rather than the podcast app; it's no longer possible to directly embed HTML code apparently!
 
I was 'John Readman' in those days, because another actor already had my name and Equity regulations prevented two actors having the same one; John Banks is my real name - but you knew that too.

 

 
Thanks as always for stopping by, that's...
 
 
...all for now; more just as soon as it happens!
 

Monday, 3 August 2020

War of Secrets

Good morning and welcome to today's update! I'm pleased to announce the release, on August 1st, of War of Secrets, details of which, appear below.




As regular readers of these pages will know, for the last several weeks, I've been putting together a 'home studio' so that I can record books and drama to professional standards from home, as the lockdown here in the UK means that many independent professional studios are still being 'lightly' used, if at all. The situation I currently find myself in, with regard to maintaining a viable career, suggests to me, that recording from home, which has long been the case in the USA, will now become the 'new norm' here too.

Before the home studio was fully up and running, I did manage to rig up a temporary work space in which I recorded a few auditions and some voice-overs. Over the last couple of weeks in the new studio, I've recorded a full cast and fully interactive audio drama, two short audio books and War of Secrets, a 'standard' length book, which, as you can imagine, is very pleasing. Here's what it's all about:

War of Secrets

A Space Marine Conquests novel

Supporting the Dark Angels as they battle trauma-scarred T'au, Lieutenant Farren and his Primaris Marines discover their allies have many secrets they'll do anything to conceal....



The story: Lieutenant Xedro Farren is a Primaris Marine, stronger and more adept than even the Space Marines his brotherhood is sent to fight alongside. As the Dark Angels and the Primaris Marines fight a trauma-scarred force of T’au hellbent on destroying their former allies, the true quarry becomes clear - the shadowy instigator of a psychic curse that could plunge a string of Imperial planets into madness.

As worlds burn in the fires of battle, an unthinkable pact is struck, with the Primaris Marines peeling back layer after layer of deceit to find the appalling truth. Can Farren hope to emerge from this web of lies without losing his honour - or come to that, his life?


Written by Phil Kelly, audio book Produced by Matthew Renshaw & Narrated by John Banks


Length: 9 hours - 48 minutes





©2020 Games Workshop Limited (P)2020 Games Workshop Limited

* * * * *

Over the next few weeks and months, as mentioned in previous posts here, the 'home studio' and it's human occupant, are about to embark on a very busy period of recording, involving two new audio book series and the continuation of a third, along with, hopefully, a few welcome 'extras' thrown into the mix.

Like any project I've ever undertaken, the prospect is both thrilling and terrifying in equal measure. So far, I haven't put a foot into the perfect and unbroken snow of anticipation; as soon as I utter the first syllable of text, the 'perfection' will be lost and the process of compromise will begin.

'Twas ever thus!


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


Monday, 13 July 2020

Missy: Series 2


Good afternoon and welcome to today's update, which features a couple of interesting audio releases. The first production to mention, is the second series of 'Missy', a Doctor Who/Big Finish spin-off series, which many readers of these pages may already be aware of.

As previously mentioned, I'd had a bit of a gap with Big Finish audio dramas and Missy was the first recording I'd made with them for quite some time. My contribution to this box-set of stories, The Lumiat, was recorded on 17th June 2019 and the last thing I'd recorded before that, Sherlock Holmes: The Master of Blackstone Grange, was on 27th September 2017; which also happened to be the 100th Big Finish story I'd done with Ken Bentley as director.

It probably goes without saying, that I'm pleased indeed to be working with Big Finish again and I'm looking forward to whatever else might come my way with them in future.

And so, on to details of what Missy Series 2 is all about:

Missy


Missy… alone, unleashed and unfettered. What does she get up to when the Doctor isn’t around?

Now she has what she wants, Missy needs someone to show off to. But her temporal mischief attracts the wrong kind of attention.

Infuriating children, a vacationing Sontaran and her own worst intentions will get in her way. And a Meddling Monk, out for revenge...


2.1 The Lumiat by Lisa McMullin

Missy is glorying in the chaos, hoping that a certain someone might turn up.

What she doesn’t expect is an entirely different do-gooder spoiling her plans and teaching her life lessons.

Because, whoever she is, the Lumiat knows far more about Missy than anyone should...

2.2 Brimstone and Terror by Roy Gill

Missy wants an army, a brigade of willing youngsters, trained to serve. So she takes a teaching post at a remote Scottish boarding school.

But one of these boys knows Missy of old. And when Oliver Davis summons his sister for help, Lucy brings an ally from London. One Mr Strax...

2.3 Treason and Plot by Gemma Arrowsmith

The Gunpowder Plot. It’s a favourite of time travellers. If Missy’s going to hitch a ride, that’s the place to cause trouble. Especially if trouble makes a really big bang.

The only person in her way, trying to keep history on track, is a rookie Time Agent. But Rita Cooper wanted excitement...

2.4 Too Many Masters by John Dorney

The Monk has captured Missy. And he will have his revenge...

But the Ogrons are also looking to settle an old debt. And when they call it in, they find themselves with too many Time Lords on their hands.

The Master owes them big – and the Ogrons know who the Master is. Don’t they?



Michelle Gomez (Missy)
Rufus Hound (The Meddling Monk)
Gina McKee (The Lumiat)
Dan Starkey (Strax)
Ajjaz Awad (Lydia)
John Banks (Radolf / Lieutenant Grappa / Feyza)             
Oliver Clement (Oliver Davis)
Ben Fox (Robert Catesby)
Helen Goldwyn (Empress Maule)
Christopher Hatherall (Guy Fawkes)
Alex Hope (Lawrence McAllister)
Matthew Jacobs-Morgan (Bertram / Manilaius)
Bonnie Kingston (Lucy Davis)
Glen McCready (Burnsbright / Librarian / Ogron 2)
Cameron Percival (Rowan Fairley)
Philip Pope (Rita’s Boss / William / Baron Worthing)
Dan Starkey (Strax / Mr Strackie / Mr Cosmo)
Ony Uhiara (Rita Cooper)
Eve Webster (Keeza / Captain Rosecco / Han)
Robert Whitelock (Grolk / Ogrons / Servant)


Directed by Samuel Clemens & Ken Bentley

Produced by David Richardson


Length: 306 minutes on 4 discs


Just before moving on from this update to the next, I just want to mention what a delight it was to meet and work with Gina McKee. The recording schedule meant that we ended up spending a fair bit of time together in the green room and we chatted along like old pals, even though we'd never met before. That in itself, is not especially unusual amongst actors; we're often thrown together, however briefly, and have to be able to 'hang out' and generally enjoy each other's company fairly instantaneously. I particularly enjoyed 'hanging out' with and talking to Gina, especially as we evidently have so much in common! But maybe that's a story for another day...


* * * * *


The second release in today's update, is an anthology of stories written by my friend, Neil Gardner, with whom I've worked on a great many audio books. This story, The Sound Within, was recorded some time ago and was something I did at the end of a regular working day; I seem to remember recording it in one take, though my memory might be playing tricks on me!

Here are some details:

The Sound Within

Brought together for the first time as a complete collection, you will find here 16 short audio stories written by award-winning audio writer/producer/director Neil Gardner.  

These 16 short tales delve into realms of existential investigation, from dark horror and science fiction futures to fantastical flights of scientific wonder. Each story is a self-contained world of its own, a moment in time that illuminates a thought, a person, an experience or a curiosity.


'The Sound Within' – John Banks
'Saya’s Last Gasp – Louise Jameson
'Focal Point' – Geoffrey Beevers
'Inside the Machine' – Nicola Bryant
'The Embrace' – Christopher Ragland
'Outside Looking In' – Anneke Wills
'Day One' – Peter Noble
'Twin Points' – Michael Fenton Stevens
'Saya’s First Giant Step' – Louise Jameson
'Extermin8' – Terry Molloy
'The Waiting Room' – Toby Longworth
'Wrist Watch' – Nicola Bryant
'Truncated' – Christopher Ragland
'New Born' – Billie Fulford Brown
'Space Hopper' – Dan Starkey
'The Last of the Tea Ladies' – Louise Jameson

Length: 2 hrs and 28 mins


Narrated by a who’s-who of legendary TV and audio performers, many from the world of Doctor Who (where Neil is a leading audio producer) and underscored by beautiful and evocative incidental music.  

These are short stories written specifically to be performed in audio. We hope you enjoy the ride...and the journeys of thought you are taken on.

* * * * *

And so, to round up for today; there's just time to mention that the new 'home studio' is near to completion and has already been used on several productions, including a full length audio book and a multi-character audio drama, which is both gratifying and a great relief!

In a few weeks time, I'll begin the 'home recording' of three different series of audio books, projects which carry on into late spring 2021. It's quite a daunting prospect, as I'm sure you can imagine, though after a long period of enforced inactivity during lockdown, I consider myself fortunate indeed to be working again. The technical learning curve is looking pretty vertical at the moment and as ever, I just hope I don't screw it all up!

And on that note, that's...


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


Sunday, 21 June 2020

Fabius Bile: Manflayer

Good afternoon and welcome! Following fairly hot on the heels of the earlier June release of MW Craven's 'The Curator', is the latest audio book from The Black Library, which I had the pleasure of recording with producer Tara Rawson, a couple of weeks before lockdown. I had previously worked with Tara on the short audio drama, The Revelation of The Word, a sample of which appears above, and we had great fun together in the studio, recording a third Fabius Bile story, whom I have to admit, is one of my very favourite Balck Library characters.

So without further prevarication, here are some details of the third of my Fabius Bile projects:


Fabius Bile Manflayer


As his Homo Novus project comes to fruition, Fabius Bile faces a new threat - the dreaded haemonculi of the Thirteen Scars. Can he marshal his forces to protect his creations, or are the New Men doomed to death? 

In the centuries since his return from Commorragh, Fabius Bile has distanced himself from the affairs of friend and foe, content only to oversee the cruel evolution of his New Men. But when his creations are threatened by the monstrous haemonculi of the Thirteen Scars, the Manflayer is forced to seek out new allies and old enemies alike in an effort to preserve all that he has built. Homo Novus must survive...even if Fabius Bile must die to ensure it.

 

Written by Josh Reynolds, Produced by Tara Rawson & Narrated by John Banks

Audio book length: 13 hours - 40 minutes


©2020 Games Workshop Limited (P)2020 Games Workshop Limited

* * * * *

I'm very pleased to see that both Manflayer and Emperor's Legion currently appear in the Audible Top 100 Sci-Fi & Fantasy audio book chart at #30 and #75 respectively. If you'd like to hear audio samples from these books and a number of other projects I've been involved with, here's a link to my audible web pages: John Banks at Audible

Many thanks for stopping by; there's much more to come in the next few weeks and months, especially as the audio industry gradually eases out of full lockdown - I'll keep you posted! Otherwise, that's...


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


Friday, 19 June 2020

The Curator

Good afternoon dear, patient reader and welcome to the first posting since the beginning of May! Apologies once again for such a gap, though you may be pleased to know that not a moment of the interim has been wasted. Let me explain a little.

The Covid-19 lockdown has been in force here in the UK since March and as a consequence, many industries and organisations, including my own, have closed down. I've mentioned here previously, that I've been thinking of how I could possibly work from home and to cut a long story short, after much thought and a fair chunk of my financial reserves, I now have a professionally built and equipped recording studio from which I can work. Making this happen and bringing together all the necessary resources during lockdown, has not been especially easy, though once the decision had been made, I tried to move as quickly as possible. Just in the nick of time, the studio was ready; there are still a few additions and alterations to make in order to be more comfortable for long recording sessions - I certainly need a more forgiving chair than I currently have - but I'm delighted to say, that construction was completed last Thursday and on Friday morning, I started to record an audio book, details to follow. This week, I continued to record the book, which wrapped up yesterday and on Wednesday, managed to squeeze in an audio drama, again, details to follow. So I think it can reasonably be said, that the new home studio is off to a flying start!

In all the activity of building a studio and prepping a book, a drama and some Games Workshop voice over narration (see animation above), I haven't yet been able to post news of this month's audio book release, which is 'The Curator' by MW Craven, the third of his 'Washington Poe' series, which I am delighted to have been asked to narrate. Here are some details:


The Curator

"It's Christmas, and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria.

A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6.




Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency's Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetised, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren't even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI Agent gets in touch, things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn't think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he's dealing with someone far, far worse - a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again...."


Produced by Neil Gardner & Narrated by John Banks

Length: 9 hours - 23 minutes


©2020 M. W. Craven (P)2020 Hachette Audio UK


As the audiobook was released a couple of weeks ago, on 4th June, there are reviews available, something I'm never usually in a position to include. So here are a few that say very complimentary things (!):


Excellent as always

I normally like to go short and to the point with reviews. But honestly how can I make you understand how insanely good the Poe and Tilly saga is. It could be if well done one of the best series on tv ever in my opinion. Why no one isn't snapping this up, it blows my mind. The characters are thought of so well, the stories are just amazing. I will need to stop raving on, no surprise that Mr Craven gets another 5 shiny stars from me. He again had me on all hook and tenders, I applaud you sir 👏👏
ps the narration is as always the best !

Absolutely brilliant

John Banks' narration is excellent, he really brings the book to life.

Poe & Tilly are back, and the wait has definitely been worth it. Tilly’s character is maturing whilst her adorable traits still remain, along with Poe’s dogged determination they make a brilliant team. Craven takes you on a twist and turn journey to find The Curator. It is fast paced, enthralling and unlike most crime novels the ending is completely unpredictable.

A definite must listen.

Fantastic!

It is a must to have experienced in the earlier stories to be able to fully appreciate this one. Great storyline and characterisation. A job exceptionally well done!


Absolutely bloody brilliant

I was not sure what to expect from a third Washington Poe entry, often third books can be lacklustre but OH BOY, this one is quite the opposite. I was sucked in and full on glued to my earbuds the entire time.

I don't know where to begin with an attempt to describe this story, it's too bizarre to describe rationally, up, down sideways, whichever ways, this is a roller coaster way beyond any I've ridden before.

Buy it, listen now, you will love it (unless you have a delicate sensibilities as this is far from cozy) .

Johns Banks is absolutely the perfect narrator for this book, in fact I wish he could record new versions of all the books I've ever listened to. 


Amazing

wonderful twist and turns, on the edge of your seat plot and the funniest humour!


* * * * *

Cover art for MW Craven's previous 'Washington Poe' books, which I also had the pleasure of narrating, has been revised, in order to be consistent with the new artwork on 'The Curator', which I think looks very smart indeed.





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



The Lore of Direchasm

Direchasm

A C'tan Shard Rises 3

Indomitus: Necrons 2

A Lord Among the Stars 1

Angels of Death Preview

Ultramarines

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

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