Arts and Entertainment David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh in Monday's episode

Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh was only meant to work on Coronation Street for two months. Her character was intended as little more than a gimmick to help the Manchester-based soap opera compete in the ratings battle with then-dominant EastEnders. Fifteen years later, her character’s story has finally come to a close, and with it, one of soap’s most enduring and touching romances: that of oddball Roy and his kind-hearted wife, Hayley.

The player who set the tone yesterday was another fresh native talent, Callum McManaman

From shocking foul to diamond for Callum McManaman

Was this shock bigger than Wimbledon in 1988? Was it the biggest since Sunderland in 1973? These were the questions being asked here last night, but it was another FA Cup final that came to mind while watching Callum McManaman tear Manchester City apart.

Professor Lawrence Krauss, the atheist academic at the centre of the row

UCL bans Islamic group after segregation row

A London university has banned an Islamic organisation from its campus, after it attempted to segregate an audience at one of its debates by gender.

I’m a gay man and I wasn’t convinced by equal marriage either. Now I am.

It's taken me a while to convince myself of the arguments for marriage, but as MPs vote today on historic proposals to legalise gay marriage, I'm more convinced than ever

Bring back the goodness: Alain de Botton's 10 commandments for atheists

Believe in God? If that's a yes, this probably isn't for you.

Pillow talk: Alain de Botton wants a new type of online porn

10 new virtues for atheists: Alain de Botton unveils new manifesto

Writer Alain de Botton has created a set of 10 new virtues for atheists.

US Boy Scouts ready to drop ban on gay members and leaders

The US Scout movement is signalling its readiness to end a ban on gay members and leaders after a wave of protest.

A Guide to the future of feminism

When I first heard that Julie Bentley had called the Guides "the ultimate feminist organisation", I thought steady on. Then I realised how true this is

'Nun' sentenced over envelopes containing white powder that were sent to Nick Clegg

A pensioner claiming to be a Catholic nun who sent envelopes containing white powder to parliamentary figures including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was given a community order today.

My christening dilemma: I'm gay and an atheist, should I be a godparent?

Being an atheist godfather would be like a vegetarian who eats fish.

George Pratt's faith in atheism: Scouts must Promise to Obey - and if they don't, they're out

The Scouts’ exclusion of atheist children is not a demand for faith, it is a demand for unquestioning obedience.

Damned by Despair, Olivier, National Theatre, London

Spare a thought for poor Bertie Carvel. One minute, he's a camp brute of a headmistress swinging schoolgirls round by the plaits in the rip-roaring hit of Matilda. The next, he's being brutish – and strangely camp – all over again, this time, though, as a murderous Neapolitan thug in Damned by Despair, a venture that looks set to go down in history as one of the National Theatre's rare turkeys.

Howard Jacobson: Pushing, shoving, mawkish singing – my unmissable day out at the Jubilee pageant

Parents conjured children from their pockets and hoisted them onto their shoulders

62% of the population never attend any form of religious service

Fact File: Secular Britain

In the beginning, there was Bideford. In February 2012 the High Court ruled council meeting prayers in the Devon town unlawful, and reignited a row about encroaching secularisation that’s been rumbling in the background of British public life for over a century.

What to say to save a life

Convincing someone not to jump is a job for only the most skilled negotiators. Emily Jupp finds out how they do it

How to save a life

Convincing someone not to jump is a job for only the most skilled negotiators. Emily Jupp finds out how they do it

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
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South Africa
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there