NEARLY a decade since the last sell-out tour, Les Misérables is touring again and is back at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre.

Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the most successful, influential and powerful theatrical producer in the world, spoke to the Daily Echo about its extraordinary 35 year success.

“I love it- absolutely and I’m really thrilled the way the new tour has gone. We’ve had brilliant success and have a terrific cast and we are nearly sold out everywhere,” he says.

Based on the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, the musical adaptation of Les Misérables is performed entirely in song. It follows the pursuit of ex-convict Jean Valjean by his nemesis, police officer Javert, over Valjean’s lifetime. Set in 19th century France, Valjean seeks redemption for his crime - stealing bread to feed his sister and her children during a time of economic depression and terrible poverty - over several decades.

With scenery inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo, Les Misérables’ magnificent score includes heart-rending songs I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, Bring Him Home, One Day More plus Master of the House and many more.

Seen by over 120 million people worldwide in 52 countries and in 22 languages, it is one of the world’s most popular musicals ever. It is officially the longest-running musical in the West End. Cameron has produced more musicals than anyone else in history, including the smash hits The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon, Cats and recent global blockbuster, Hamilton.

But asked why he thinks people love Les Mis so much he tells me: “The truth is it is probably the best novel or story ever to have been made into a musical. It is the best social novel and the characters are so timeless. You can see these characters played in productions in every generation in any country in the world and it has the greatest score ever. Ironically the musical never had a hit song until the miracle of Susan Boyle.

“People say how can you be excited by it after 35 years but this show attracts more young talent than any other. It’s become the engine and the gateway to success in the theatre. Brilliant young people always want to do Les Mis and places like the O2 always want to do it.The show just grows and grows.”

Les Misérables is at Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday.