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Sudbury man Alistair McMillan achieves dream of voice acting

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5:28 PM February 5, 2022

A man from Sudbury is celebrating the release of his debut audiobook after years spent dreaming of becoming a voice actor. 

Alistair McMillan, 38, had been working as a general manager for a wedding venue in Essex before the pandemic hit and he was furloughed, and then eventually made redundant.  

“I found myself a digital marketing role for a software company which kept the mortgage payments up to date,” explains Alistair. “And I was able to work from home. So, for two hours a day, I was not commuting.  

The Banqueting Club is a political mystery-thriller set in the heart of the British government of the 1980s.

– Credit: Ella Wilkinson

“I thought, why don’t I use this time to focus on some personal projects? For many years, people had said, you should do voiceover work. It’s always a dream of mine.” 

Alistair decided to follow his passion, and converted his home office into a recording studio, attaching foam tiles to the walls and purchasing a microphone. 

“I discovered that audible have a website where authors will put their books up for audition. I auditioned for my first book, and I actually got it!” 

The Banqueting Club is now available on Audible, a political mystery-thriller written by George Fairbrother set in the heart of the British government in the 1980s.  

It follows the unlikely political friendship of a Tory Chief Whip and a left-wing journalist, who has discovered a highly sensitive manuscript with the potential to bring down the government. 

“It was supposed to take about three months to do, but it took nine because I was doing it at evenings and weekends,” says Alistair. 

Alistair says it took him nine months to finish recording the novel, working in the evenings and at weekends.

Alistair says it took him nine months to finish recording the novel, working in the evenings and at weekends.

– Credit: Ella Wilkinson

“It takes six or seven hours to record one hour of work, because you have to edit it yourself, and take out every breath and noise in the background.” 

“I once read a whole chapter, and then realised I hadn’t pushed record. It was soul-destroying, and I had to leave it for about a week before I thought, no, I have to carry on.”  

“Then before you even start to record, you have to read the book and highlight all the different characters so you can read it naturally. I had to learn how to do 12 different voices. 

Now, both Alistair and the author are thrilled with the completed audiobook, which is available for download. 

Although he plans to take short break from recording, Alistair is already looking forward to his next project. 

He says: “If I could do one thing in my life, it would probably be this.” 

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