"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

Heirs of Grimnir

Heirs of Grimnir
JB and full cast audio drama

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...

Direchasm

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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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!



Wednesday, 6 May 2020

The Paternoster Gang


"Victorian London harbours many secrets: alien visitors, strange phenomena and unearthly powers.

But a trio of investigators stands ready to delve into such mysteries: the Great Detective, Madame Vastra, her resourceful spouse, Jenny Flint, and their loyal valet, Strax."


 Now there's an appetite whetting opening to an audio drama box set if ever I heard one!  




"If an impossible puzzle needs solving, or a grave injustice needs righting, help can be found on Paternoster Row.

But even heroes can never escape their past..."

There are three stories in this box set from Big Finish and in 'Truth and Bone', by Roy Gill, I'm having great fun playing 'Skark'. Here are some details:

 

3.1 Family Matters by Lisa McMullin
Jenny’s past comes calling at Paternoster Row, as Strax takes care of a guest, and the travelling circus comes to town - spelling danger for some of the gang.

But when family matters intrude on their marriage, the last thing Jenny wants is Vastra having her in-laws for dinner...

3.2 Whatever Remains by Robert Valentine
The Great Detective’s latest case takes Vastra and friends to the Jurassic coast. A local landowner has vanished. The only clue – the footprints of a gigantic creature!

As Strax suffers the attentions of an amorous landlady, Jenny gains an admirer of her own. And Vastra discovers something buried deep...

3.3 Truth and Bone by Roy Gill
Bloomsbury troublemakers Stonn and Tom Foster are back, and in much more trouble than ever before.

Sontar has turned its attention to Earth as Requisitioner Skark looks to retrieve missing soldiers. And Jenny finds Vastra preoccupied with the past, which may lead to a very dark future...



 The cast for these stories includes:

Neve McIntosh, Catrin Stewart, Dan Starkey, 
Ignatious Anthony, Annette Badland, John Banks,
Beth Chalmers, Robert Fitch, Arthur Hughes, Wanda Opalinska, Robert Portal, 
Christopher Ryan, Jack Shalloo & Issy Van Randwyck


Produced by David Richardson & Directed by Ken Bentley

4 Disc box set - length: 238 minutes 


* * * * *

This is my first Big Finish release since 'Sherlock Holmes: The Master of Blackstone Grange" in March 2018, so after what can only be described as 'a bit of a break', I hope you enjoy these fabulous adventures, which I very much look forward to listening to myself.


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

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Senlin Ascends - booktrack edition

"...so, what's a 'booktrack edition'?" I hear you ask and in all honesty, I was wondering exactly the same thing, until audible.co.uk came up with the explanation. As you may be aware, my audio book version of Josiah Bancroft's fantastic story, the first of his 'The Books of Babel' series, was originally available in January 2018 and now, this new addition has seen the light of day. Here's what audible have to say about it:

Senlin Ascends: Booktrack Edition adds an immersive musical soundtrack to your audiobook listening experience!*




The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of luxury and menace, of unusual animals and mysterious machines.

 



Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he'll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassins, and the illusions of the Tower. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure.

This quiet man of letters must become a man of action. 






*Booktrack is an immersive format that pairs traditional audiobook narration to complementary music. The tempo and rhythm of the score are in perfect harmony with the action and characters throughout the audiobook. Gently playing in the background, the music never overpowers or distracts from the narration, so listeners can enjoy every minute. When you purchase this Booktrack edition, you receive the exact narration as the traditional audiobook available, with the addition of music throughout.


 
























Written by Josiah Bancroft, Performed by John Banks & Produced by Neil Gardner


Length: 14 hours - 15 minutes

©2017 Josiah Bancroft (P)2020 Hachette Audio


* * * * *

Starting with 'Senlin Ascends', followed by 'The Arm of The Sphinx', then 'The Hod King' 'The Books of Babel' series is high up there in my list of all time favourite audio books - at least, of the ones I've had the pleasure of narrating! Rather than tie myself in knots, trying to explain how and why these stories are so unique, immersive and original, here's Josiah himself, talking us through the basics:





I love these stories and hope you will too; time to ascend The Tower of Babel!




Here's a link to the audible.co.uk sample: Senlin Ascends booktrack edition  


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


  

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Chains of Blood: The Chaos Cycle Book 1

A quick update on an audio book released yesterday from Podium Publishing and available via Amazon & audible. Here are some details:

Chains of Blood

The Chaos Cycle, Book 1


He thought he was born Rylan Marshall...until he found out he wasn’t.

Rylan was attacked, his young son murdered, his baby daughter taken. But his assailant left him with two gifts: the gift of magic...and an oath to darkness.





Gil Archer is the son of a legend and one of the most powerful battle mages in the Lyceum. He is sent on a mission to recover Rylan, but ends up on a far more dangerous path.

And war is coming for them both.

Will Rylan use his newfound power to make a stand, or will his oath to darkness guide him to the enemy? And will Gil live up to the legacy of his father, or will his fate lead him to a much darker destiny?

If you love grimdark fantasy filled with vivid realism, brutal warfare, and raw emotion, this new adventure is just for you.





Xiana & Rylan
 

Produced by Neil Gardner & Performed by John Banks


Length: 13 hours - 40 minutes




Darien

©2019 ML Spencer (P)2020 Podium Publishing


Artwork by: Felix Ortiz 



I'm very pleased that this project came together in the way it did. I was originally approached by Podium Publishing over a year ago and because they're based in Los Angeles, I think they assumed I would record form a home studio, as many American narrators have been doing for years and (familiar theme manifesting itself here!) many UK based narrators are now having to consider, myself included! 

Unfortunately, after much discussion, that first project didn't get off the ground, so I was particularly delighted to hear from them again earlier this year, offering Chains of Blood. Long story short, we arranged to record the book in Neil G's Ladbroke Audio studios, with Neil co-producing; we had great fun with it and the finished product is now available. It's Book 1 of, I think, a trilogy, so fingers crossed that we get to record Books 2&3!




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


 

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Mr. Atkinson's Rum Contract


Good afternoon and welcome to today's lockdown-update. Despite the enforced 'inactivity' of the last few weeks, officially announced here in the UK on the evening of 23rd March, I've actually been pretty 'active'. 

As I mentioned in the last update, my industry, like many others, has effectively closed down for the time being and none of us can work, with the exception of those narrators and actors who have access to a home studio and are able to record 'remotely'. I've been doing my very best to acquire the necessary basic kit to record from home and there's still much to do. I've been learning how to use the recording equipment I now have and that's going well, although the learning curve is initially, quite steep. 

The most critical element in the whole set up, is of course, the actual recording environment. The electronic gadgetry required to record to professional industry standard, can be severely compromised by a badly 'sound-proofed' room. Creating a workable recording room is a considerable technical challenge and so, as a speedy and hopefully professional sounding alternative, I've been researching the kind of audio booth which can be bought as a self-assembly kit. I'm pursuading myself that to acquire such an isolation booth would be a 'sound investment' (sorry...), so if I can find something that will not only do the job, but also physically fit into my house, that looks like the next logical step to take. At the moment, I have created a makeshift temporary 'studio' environment, which sounds fine, but would easily pick up the sound of passing cars, barking dogs, grass cutting and any one of a thousand other things my equally locked-down neighbours might come up with; so a proper solution has to be found soonish as I'm losing work, which never sits well, whatever the reason.

Just before lock-down kicked in, I recorded the audio book detailed below, for Harper Collins. It was published in all formats on 16th April and is available to download via amazon and audible:



Richard Atkinson was in his late 30s and approaching a milestone he had long feared - the age at which his father died – when one day he came across a box of old family letters gathering dust in a cupboard.

This discovery set him on an all-consuming, highly emotional journey, ultimately taking him from the weather-beaten house of his Cumbrian ancestors to the ruins of their sugar estates in Jamaica.
Richard’s searches led him to one forebear in particular, an earlier Richard Atkinson, a brilliant but flawed West India merchant who had shipped all the British army’s supplies (including thousands of barrels of rum) during the American War of Independence and amassed staggering wealth and connections along the way. ‘Rum’ Atkinson died young, at the height of his powers, leaving a vast inheritance to his many nephews and nieces, as well as the society beauty who had refused his proposal of marriage; 40 years of litigation followed as his heirs wrangled over his legacy.

Drawing on their personal correspondence, Richard writes with rare candour about his worldly ancestors and their involvement in the slave trade – for, like many well-to-do Georgian families, the Atkinsons’ wealth was acquired at a terrible cost, through the blood, sweat and lives of enslaved Africans. When the first of the Atkinsons sailed to Jamaica in the 1780s, the island was the jewel in the imperial crown; when the last of them returned to England in the 1850s, it was an impoverished backwater. This vivid tale of a single family, their lives and loves, set against a panoramic backdrop of war, politics and slavery, offers a uniquely intimate insight into one of the most disturbing chapters in Britain’s colonial past.



Produced at RNIB Camden Studios by Tom Harrison & Narrated by John Banks


 Running length: 12 hours - 40 minutes


©2020 Richard Atkinson (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited


As a neat little segue, during the recording of Mr. Atkinson at the RNIB studios, I was asked if I'd like to contribute to an RNIB Connect Radio program, hosted by author Red Szell. Now, as the idea of the interview was to talk about my various audio adventures, including the Mr. Atkinson story, I thought it churlish to say anything other than a gleeful - 'yes'!

The interview can be heard below; my ramblings start from around the 32 minute mark:





* * * * *

Just to round off today's posting; Thursday at 8pm here in the UK, has become the time we all briefly step out of our houses and flats, to applaud NHS staff and thank them for the amazing work they are doing at the moment, under incredibly difficult and dangerous conditions, dealing with this awful C-19 pandemic, which has impacted on all of us.

Over the last couple of months, my friends Christopher, Oliver and Tamara, along with family members, Sasha, Jamie, Benjie, Isabelle and Alex, have all had the coronavirus and have all, mercifully, come through without need of hospitalisation, which, as I'm sure you will appreciate, is a great relief. 



Keep safe & stay well.


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


Sunday, 29 March 2020

Lockdown...

Good afternoon and thanks for stopping by. What strange times we're living through at the moment; the reality of a pandemic - a great subject for drama, but probably not something any of us could imagine as an actual event. Echoes of the drama series 'Survivors', which I recorded a few years ago with Big Finish, serve to remind me, that our current circumstances are not so far removed from something only previously imaginable as a work of fiction.

I don't want to drone on about Covid-19 in this update, but how could it go unmentioned? I can only hope that the goodness of human nature, which is already expressing itself around the world, will help to bring us all to a greater appreciation and understanding of each other, to highlight how inter-dependant we are and the degree to which we share our little lives together on this spinning ball in space.

A regular update on these pages would mention latest audio releases and other stuff I've been involved with. In perspective, perhaps that's not the most important thing going on at the moment, although it does seem to me, that a little distraction, a short 'time-out' is always welcome and listening to an audio book, or a bunch of actors pretending to be Space Marines, might just be as good a means as any of taking one's mind to another place for a while, as we all hunker down and wait for this awful virus to play itself out.




Lockdown here in the UK, meant that I had to work at maximum effort and minumum time wastage, in order to complete the recording of an audio book; we managed it after an intense two days in the studio and at some point in the next few months, I hope it will be released on schedule, along with it's release in other formats. Alas, I'm still not allowed to say what the recording was of, or indeed what other things are in the publication pipeline; what I can say is that it's one of four books, three audio dramas and an animation series,* scheduled for release over the next few months.

Most of the studios I work with, if not all, are now closed and the only new audio work being produced, is by narrators who have access to a 'home studio'. At the moment, I don't have a home studio, but I'll have to put that right, just as soon as it becomes possible to acquire the necessary materials and electronic gadgetry to build one. I recently worked for a Los Angeles based audio publisher and I'm sure the majority of their narrators work from home, as the practicalities of getting to a pro studio in the United States, could be daunting. I'm grateful that they not only invited me to record with them, but also engaged a producer and hired a pro studio for me here in the UK. Fingers crossed they don't regret their investment!




Like most of us who are currently keeping to ourselves at home, I'm getting on with all the day to day things that normally get overlooked or ignored. I can't pretend it's as much fun as my day job, but I'm grateful to be well and able to keep myself usefully occupied.

There's an awful lot of text here and so far, not much in the way of illustration: perhaps I'll just throw in a couple of my favourite images from the world of Warhammer to liven things up...

Stay well, take care and happy listening; that's...


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



NB: * the animation series, Angels of Death, (see Preview 2 above) could be delayed as a result of  the lockdown.

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