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 Gospel of Us (NC)

Starring: Michael Sheen, David Rees Talbot

Mikhail Bulgakov's Stalin-era satire, <i>The Master and Margarita</i>, at the Barbican

The Master and Margarita, Barbican, London
Sweeney Todd, Adelphi, London
Filumena, Almedia, London

Simon McBurney brings dazzling technology to his Bulgakov adaptation but little clarity. A Sondheim evergreen, meanwhile, is as fresh as ever

The Blagger's Guide To... Gulliver's Travels

'It is read from the cabinet to the nursery'

Letters: The history of Secularism

The ancient world of disbelievers

Book Of A Lifetime: The End of the Affair, By Graham Greene

The epigraph to Graham Greene's 'The Lawless Roads' is a magnificent quote from Cardinal Newman: "If there be a God, since there is a God, the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity." Just as mad Ireland hurt Yeats into poetry, it was the frictions of faith that brought Greene's novels to life. 'The End of the Affair' is his masterpiece: an astonishing, painfully moving interrogation of the contradictions in a Catholicism he couldn't live without but struggled to live with.

Mark Steel: If religion's marginal,I'm the Pope

If you're going to complain that religion is becoming "marginal", as Baroness Warsi did yesterday, it's genius to do it when you're a member of the Cabinet on a visit to the Pope. Maybe Warsi said to him, "For example, your Holiness, look how these days you're tucked away in a backstreet in Rome which hardly even shows up on the A to Z."

The Bellwether Revivals, By Benjamin Wood

Deft rendition of a sinister soundtrack
Tapies next to one of his pieces during an exhibition of his work in Madrid in 2004

Antoni Tapies: Catalan artist celebrated for his use of found materials

Antoni Tapies was the most important Catalan artist of the 20th century. He was a self-taught painter and sculptor, his later works instantly recognisable for their stark contrasts of colour, incorporation of found materials and widespread use of written language and geometric symbols.

Religion for Atheists, By Alain de Botton

For English writers and thinkers, the urge to rescue the core values of a waning Christianity for secular culture drove literary explorations and educational ventures for over a hundred years. This aching nostalgia for an impossible faith and its masterworks has itself left some fine monuments, from Matthew Arnold in the 1860s listening to the "melancholy, long, withdrawing roar" of the ebbing "Sea of Faith" on "Dover Beach", to Philip Larkin, "Church Going" as a respectful sceptic to "A serious house on serious earth... In whose blent air all our compulsions meet".

Man threatens students at debate

Students attending a debate about sharia law were told they would be "hunted down and killed" by a man who burst into their lecture theatre and filmed them on his phone.

Feast Day of Fools, By James Lee Burke

Graham Greene's religious faith was often fragile. When in one of his periodic moments of doubt he suggested to Evelyn Waugh that he was considering resigning from the Catholic novelist coterie to which the two belonged, Waugh was outraged and insisted Greene carry on writing novels with a religious basis, however uncertain his belief had become.

Mark Steel: Just because you're an atheist doesn't make you rational

Once you make it your primary aim to refute the existence of God, you miss what's really fundamental

Letters: Atheism

Defining the true atheist. Or not

Letters: Is that blue teapot still out in space?

I share entirely the humanitarian thrust of John Badcock's letter (20 December) criticising Richard Dawkins, but I have to take exception to his statement that a belief or a non-belief in a deity have "equal intellectual validity".

Simon Kelner: Blaming society's ills on Godlessness is senseless

I wonder what Christopher Hitchens, who died some 24 hours earlier, would have made of David Cameron's speech, in which he implored Britain to follow the values espoused in the Bible. In fact, there's no need to wonder. He'd have employed his most excoriating polemic.

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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?