The chart star who owes her life to the original Les Miserables show :    When Les Miserables opens in cinemas today, it will have a particular poignancy for singer Eliza Doolittle and her mother, actress Frances Ruffelle.

If the original London stage production had not defied the critics’ gloomy predictions by becoming a huge success — partly due to Frances’ show-stopping starring role — it might have sunk without trace.