1. Tony and Melfi
Here’s where it all began. Tony is in his first therapy session and sparks fly. Gandolfini does everything in this scene; sadness, rage, self-pity, confusion. It’s a stunning performance and a perfect illustration of why we fell so hard for this, erm, flawed hero. ‘Whatever happened to Gary Cooper? He wasn’t in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do.’
2. Tony and Paulie
One of the many enduring joys of ‘The Sopranos’ was Paulie’s habit of telling a joke and then explaining it to Tony on the off-chance that his boss had missed it. Tony’s ‘slightly bored of Paulie’ face never got old.
3. ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’
The Coen Brothers’ ‘The Man Who Wasn’t There’ was the British audience’s first glimpse of a ‘Sopranos’-era Gandolfini as anyone other than the big guy. ‘Big Dave’ Brewster was a subtle tweak: a similar bullishness but with an edge of desperate vulnerability; somewhere between cock of the walk and scared schoolboy.
4. ‘In the Loop’
Gandolfini’s General George Miller was different again, walking the thin line between comedy and tragedy. In this scene, Miller does an excellent impression of a giant ball sack, works out troop shortfalls on a child’s pink counting toy before concluding, ‘at the end of a war, you need some soldiers left, really. Or else it starts to look like you’ve lost…’
5. Tony and AJ
After pausing for his customary root around in the fridge, Tony hears the cries of his suicidal son and races for the pool. What follows is a brief but devastatingly intense two-hander. Tony and AJ might not have liked each other very much, but the love in this scene is painfully obvious.
6. Tony and eternity
Spoiler alert: this entry contains important information about the conclusion of 'The Sopranos'
The most debated final scene in TV history? Probably. Whether or not the Soprano family lived or died is up to you. But this scene felt like the culmination of a unique relationship between writer, actor and part. And of course, in the light of Gandolfini’s death, it feels especially poignant. Fade to black…
Funk music was playing in this stylishly decorated, cosily lit Brick Lane establishment when we visited. It was quite loud, at first to the point of being overbearing. But it swiftly became apparent that funk was the perfect choice of music for Hopscotch; everything this place does is delivered with that same mixture of swagger and effortless cool. Food comes as small plates, the flavours chiefly Middle Eastern and East Asian-inspired. Everything is loosely arranged into starters and mains on the menu, but really, you’re better off ordering three or four things per person, and getting the staff to bring them out as and when they’re ready. This isn’t a place for formalities. Everything we tried held playful, nuanced, hugely moreish flavours, whether the creamy dressing on a kohlrabi salad or the quiet blast of heat in a side of pickled veg. Beef short ribs were absurdly good, falling apart in an umami-rich sauce; the closest thing to a misfire was a slightly mulchy smoked goat flatbread. Just as deserving of praise is the cocktail menu, which we ended up sampling in quite some quantity in the ‘drinking den’ bar room after our meal. Standouts were a Brick Lane Swizzle – a tangy hit of dark rum, lime and banana syrup – and the Hello Kyoto, a slightly fiendish concoction of Japanese plum wine, whisky and egg white. At £9, they’re hardly extortionate. But, with the most expensive food dish at £11, nothing here is. You get the sense that Hopscotch knows exactly what it’s got to o