Home > Characters > John Banks (Daniel Connor)
Updated: December 23 2020 09:43
Throughout this series it's going to become more and more apparent as to why Daniel might have had to look into himself and be more emotionally self-reliant
Have you enjoyed being back in the studio and returning to the world of Survivors?
I have a strange feeling – I have been looking forward to doing this for so long, that it is almost a shame to start! Because it means there's less to do. That's how much I've been looking forward to coming back and working on the scripts, which anyone I've spoken to in the last three or four weeks will be bored with hearing, because I been going on and on about how fantastic I think they are. But I do. So I'm going to keep going on about it. The stories of this second series are so wonderfully well-written. Having established the parameters in the first series we're now able to meet those parameters and go beyond them!
You must have been delighted at the reception that met the first series of new Survivors audios?
It's all is gratifying of course when things are well received. I've looked on the Big Finish forum and at other places and seen some of the things that people have said about it – and that’s been fantastic. And, obviously, new series have been commissioned – so we must be doing something right. It certainly gives you confidence going in; knowing that there is an audience who are wanting things to continue and to find out what will become of these characters. Hopefully there is some kind of emotional engagement with the characters too – as an audience starts to identify with them. At the same time, you're given a bunch of scripts to look at and then you think "wow, this is brilliant!"
In series one, Daniel took on the role of the narrator, describing the disintegrating world to the listener.
It was a really clever device, I have to say. Something is being recorded – his instincts are to record and to observe and to document, and it is also quite an interesting physical link between his old world and the world he's about to go into. All these electronic gadgets that we rely on so heavily now – and even in those days he's got his little tape recorder, so he can record events as a kind of ongoing diary. That sort of device, I think, is just a brilliantly, brilliantly clever thing to do. Whenever I've kept a diary, I have often looked back and thought "gosh, was I really thinking that and feeling that at the time?" Yes, it's a very good shorthand for the process of actually putting yourself back in that place.
He has recognised how all the rules have changed and how Jackie has behaved with a morality that actually holds waterJohn Banks
Daniel's relationship with the emotionally-traumatised Jackie in series one seems to confirm him as a very grounded sort of guy. Do you agree?
It's interesting to have him as a fairly constant centre to the story, around which lots of other things can revolve and occur. Yes, you're right, he does offer solace to a lot of the people he meets. He's not that practical in a putting up shelves kind of way, but he's got quite a good grip on who he is and how the extent to which he's got an emotional hinterland which he can rely on. And I think throughout this series it's going to become more and more apparent as to why Daniel might have had to look into himself and be emotionally slightly more self-reliant than some of the other characters.
I really don't want to spoil that journey for anyone, but I think there are lots of fascinating aspects to his character that had not yet been fully revealed. I think it's also interesting that occasionally he does go off centre. The effect of that is fascinating because you've got someone who is relatively reliable and straightforward, as you say, and together and mentally coping with everything. But when he goes off, inevitably, as anyone would in no circumstances; when he has his own moments of weakness and self-doubt, in a way I hope it comes over as being even more of a kick in the pants. And I think it's fascinating to see when that breaks down; and how he comes back.
Their relationship is one of the key dynamics of the opening episode of series two. How have things between them changed in the weeks that have passed since the terrible events at Feltham Polytechnic?
In the opening scenes that were just recording now, he's very much got Jackie "under his wing" is perhaps too strong a way of putting it, but he is "emotionally available" to Jackie. If you've heard series one of Survivors, you'll know that Jackie has found herself in some very dark places and has some things that she is uncomfortable with.
There are some very explicit conversations focusing on the question of who we should trust and in what circumstances we should trust themJohn Banks
He is still – and this is the great cliché – "there for her". He allows himself to be emotionally available to her, without being judgemental. He's incredibly supportive. And even though perhaps he can't properly rationalise what she's done – and he would find it very difficult to fully empathise – nevertheless I think, by that point in the story, he has recognised how all the rules have changed and how Jackie has behaved with a morality that actually holds water. She has been true to herself, she has done what she believes to be the right thing. And it's part of that journey of redefining the morality in circumstances that anything and everything that we've relied upon before – all of the emotional support networks with family and friends – have all gone. I think we're now into the territory where new rules are being created.
But companionship and mutual self-reliance remains key to survival?
It seems, amazingly and remarkably, that (avoiding psychobabble) not that they've "worked through that" together; but that they have accommodated it, and they're working in a new environment and pro actively working out this new morality. It's fascinating. It's absolutely fascinating. Even performing it you have to let go of what you might think is the right way to go ahead with this, because we performers are obviously still in our nice cosy, comfortable world! And yet the characters that we are trying to convey are never comfortable. There are some very explicit conversations focusing on the question of who we should trust and in what circumstances we should trust them. Do we as human beings primarily trust or do we primarily distrust?
Series two of Survivors makes for some very tough listening - from an emotional and psychological point of view. Bad things happen to good people!
Survivors is a much darker place I think than any other Big Finish series. There are moral dilemmas, and moral questions, that keep coming up - and will continue to keep coming up now. I do think that that's where the series needs to go. I do think from the reaction to series one is that that this is something that people have an appetite for. It's a very brave thing, I think, that Big Finish, and in particular David Richardson whose idea this was, chose to push through and to get this on – because there was no guarantee that it would work or that there would be an audience for it.
So what does the future hold for Daniel Connor?
I certainly have had no pre-knowledge as to whether I'm going to survive this series or even this episode. Yeah, you do find yourself flicking ahead through the pages of the script. In the first series there was a point at which I did start to cough, and I thought "well, that's it then. Daniel’s got it." And there are fantastic characters in series one, not all of whom survived. John Redgrave, the character that Terry Malloy was playing – what a superb character! What might he have done in future? And he didn't make it! I don't know what the future holds for Daniel. In the meantime, the the scripts for series two are in front of us and they work brilliantly. All I’ve got to do now is look the other fella in the eye and tell the truth!
The ninth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"There's still great potential here, as the UK begins to emerge from the dark ages of The Death, for more stories set in this uniquely realised dystopia, should sufficient numbers of those who have yet to purchase copies of this extraordinary audio series belatedly recognise the error of their ways. If that doesn't happen, this will remain a stunning finale for what must be celebrated as a consistently compelling audio drama, 5/5"
The eight series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"This latest boxset delivers an impressive mix of large scale, high stakes and small scale, intimate stories which set in motion the events which will come to an explosive conclusion in the final set in this current run of post-apocalyptic dramas, 5/5 " - Cultbox
The seventh series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"At times harrowing, at other moments uplifting, and never anything other than completely riveting listening, this latest series of Survivors audios delivers drama that is simply unmissable. As the series leaves behind the timeline of the TV incarnation of the show, Big Finish's writers, cast and crew are all clearly brimming with fully deserved confidence. The two series of new Survivors audios coming in 2018 could scarcely be a more exciting or (in the best sense of the word) a more unpredictable prospect, 10/10" - Starburst
The sixth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"After five extraordinarily well-received box sets, each of which offered a self-contained and themed collection of four episodes, the sixth series of Survivors audio adventures confidently takes a fresh approach... It's a liberating shift in format and, under the keenly judged direction of Ken Bentley, these scripts make exceptional use of the opportunity to tell diverse, if equally compelling, standalone stories, 10/10" - Starburst
The fifth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to buy (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"As it explores the highest stakes possible, this develops into the most thrilling and compelling set of stories in Big Finish's Survivors series to date: which, considering the exceptional quality of the drama in the preceding four instalments, is quite some achievement. This is extraordinary, exemplary human drama; by any standard, 10/10" - Starburst
The fourth series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
"Intelligent, literate and superbly scripted and performed, this is a post-apocalyptic drama of the highest possible calibre. Determined to avoid the predictable tropes of that genre, it invites its listeners to navigate a moral minefield in a way that few other dramas of this type would attempt. This comes recommended without reservation" - Starburst
The third series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
The second series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
A full-length audiobook of Terry Nation's Survivors novel (in CD and download formats) read by Carolyn Seymour.
The first series of new Survivors audio adventures is available to purchase (in CD and download formats) from Big Finish.
Series nine reviews addedAdded: 13 July 2019
Series eight reviews addedAdded: 9 January 2019
Series seven reviews addedAdded: 14 January 2018
Series six reviews addedAdded: 12 July 2017
Series five reviews addedAdded: 20 December 2016
Series four reviews addedAdded: 26 June 2016
Series three reviews addedAdded: 18 December 2015
New interviews addedAdded: 21 November 2015