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My Fantasy Bookshelf: Pennyworth’s Jack Bannon shares the books which influenced his life and career

The actor - who plays young Alfred in the Batman prequel series - shares his favourite reads.

Jack Bannon - My Fantasy Bookshelf

Jack Bannon is an actor currently starring in the title role of DC series Pennyworth, a prequel to the Batman story.

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Bannon steps into Michael Caine’s shoes (complete with the iconic accent) to play a young Alfred Pennyworth, better known as Bruce Wayne’s butler. The series is set before Wayne is born and explores Pennyworth’s past before he began working for the wealthy family.

Here, the actor shares the stories which have struck him most and selects the top books for his Fantasy Bookshelf. Bannon explains why he read up on wine during lockdown, shares the tales which have stayed with him since childhood and reveals which adaptation he’d love to star in most.

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What’s the best recommendation you’ve been given?

One of my favourite books, which was recommended to me, is The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. I love it.

Is there a novel which stands out in your memory from when you were growing up?

The Man by Raymond Briggs. It’s a bit strange, it’s a little man that turns up in a kid’s bedroom, but it’s all very above-board, and he’s about six inches tall. He’s quite irritating and demands clothes and food and whatever from the boy. That’s sort of a sensory memory of my childhood.

What’s a classic novel which everyone should read at some point in their life?

The Catcher in the Rye as a classic really grabbed me. I think it’s a good recommendation for people that are like, “I don’t really like reading.” Then you can go, “well read that and see how you get on.”

Which character would you most enjoy to voice in an audiobook?

When I was growing up, I loved Oliver Twist and all the wealth of characters in there. Dodger and then a bit of Fagan, bit of Bill Sykes, that would be good.

Jack Bannon as Alfred Pennyworth in DC series Pennyworth
Jack Bannon as Alfred Pennyworth
Warner Bros

Which book has stayed with you long after reading it?

I read a book called The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink. It’s a memoir, her brother suffers an accident and is completely paralysed. It’s about her caring for him over a number of years. It’s a really humble tale of love at its extremes and how life doesn’t always work out how we expect.

What’s the most recent book you’ve been reading and would you recommend it?

The last book I read was this book called Cork Dork, which is about wine, because I was drinking so much wine is lockdown that I thought I’d better try and learn about it.

It’s by Bianca Bosker who gave up her job to train to be a master sommelier in New York and it started by dispelling all the myths and the snobbery around wine. I’ve recommended it to loads of people because it’s very easy to read and it’s no bullshit.

Your current role sees you play Alfred Pennyworth, who works for the Wayne family and eventually Batman. Can you see any of yourself in your character?

When you play somebody for so long every day, naturally that transition happens quite quickly. I used to come home from filming and my girlfriend would say, “stop talking like that, shake it off!” I certainly think there are qualities of Alfred that I could be more like. It’s quite nice really because I learn from him all the time and obviously Bruno [Heller]’s scripts is where that comes from.

If you could star in any book adaptation on screen, which would it be?

The first book I read in lockdown, which I’ve never read before, was Less than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis, which I loved. That’d be fun to do that, but nobody really wants to see posh, rich people sunning themselves and going to parties do they? So it would be a bit of a pain but it was a good read.

What have you read that you could recommend to anyone?

I read Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Excellent, makes you think.

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Pennyworth: The Complete First Season is now available on Blu-ray and DVD

Read Jack Bannon’s Fantasy Bookshelf