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When Whitney Houston met Serge Gainsbourg - that unforgettable moment on French TV

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By Johnny Summerton
Posted Feb 12, 2012 in Entertainment
Sunday's headlines, even here in France, were dominated by the news of the death of US singer Whitney Houston at the age of just 48.
The tributes have of course been pouring in - quite rightly too - as she had buckets of (wasted) talent and one heck of a voice.
Houston was a true diva with a string of hits few will forget, even if they weren't fans.
And for the French she also provided, albeit unwittingly, one of those rare moments of live TV that remain classics of the "I cannot believe my eyes" genre.
Actually it wasn't so much down to her of course but the late great multi-talented Serge Gainsbourg.
The moment was back in April 1986 when Houston was appearing in a popular Saturday night variety show Champs Elysées on Antenne 2 (now France 2).
The programme, presented by Michel Drucker, was a huge hit and lasted for most of the 1980s with stars - both French and international - passing through to sing their latest hit, or promote their next album, film, book or whatever.
After a hiatus of almost two decades, the show hit the screen again in 2010 and there have been a couple of "specials" since.
Anyway, back to that night on April 5, 1986 - one Drucker and most viewers watching, will probably never forget.
Houston had just finished her number when Drucker thanked her and walked her over to be seated next to Gainsbourg.
And that of course is where the fun began as a slightly (to put it mildly) inebriated Gainsbourg became more than a little frisky - verbally at least.
Houston didn't really know how to react (who would under the circumstances?) although she remained professional and Drucker lost control while trying to retranslate clearly obvious sexual come-ons into polite and acceptable prime-time language.
He failed

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