Celebrity couple Max George and Maisie Smith are to play Parson Nathaniel and his wife Beth in an arena tour of Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds.

Former Bolton School pupil Max, lead singer of the band The Wanted, met former EastEnders' star Maisie when they were both taking part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2020.

The Bolton News: War of the Worlds (Picture Simon Lowery)

The tour will see a number of firsts with Max performing in his first acting role and Maisie singing on stage for the first time.

It is also the first time Jeff Wayne has a real-life couple for the roles of Nathaniel and Beth. In previous tours among those who have played Nathaniel include Jason Donovan and Blue’s Duncan James whilst Steps’ Claire Richards and singer Kerry Ellis have played Beth.

The tour next years marks the 130th anniversary of the publication of the classic tale by H G Wells, The War of the Worlds, and features spectacular effects including giants Martian fighting machines which send flames shooting out towards the audience.

Jeff Wayne said: “The moment I met Max and Maisie I knew they were the perfect fit for the role of Nathaniel and Beth.

“Maisie has such a melodic but powerful voice, which compliments Max’s dramatic vocals wonderfully. Plus, being a couple in real life will add to their on-stage charisma and chemistry, and I’m delighted they’ve joined the 2025 tour as husband and wife.”

The show is based on Jeff’s 1978 album which featured Richard Burton as the narrator. For the arena tour a 3D hologram of Liam Neeson will be the narrator.

The Bolton News: Maisie Smith

Maisie Smith - best known for playing Tiffany Butcher in EastEnders - said: “I am thrilled to announce my involvement in the iconic show that is Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds. This is a particularly special role for me because I grew up listening to the soundtrack on my dad’s vinyl. My family are Huge fans of the show so telling them I was going to be playing Beth was a very memorable moment.”

Max added: “I’m absolutely buzzing to be a part of Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds. It’s a show I’ve always been a fan of and was introduced to the music when I was five. My mum absolutely loves it.

“Playing the part of Parson Nathaniel is gonna be really special. I’ve got big shoes to fill with the likes of Phil Lynott and Jason Donovan playing the roles in the past, but I’m looking forward to making this role my own.”

Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds is at Manchester Co-op Live on Sunday, April 6. Details from www.thewaroftheworlds.com