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.
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Friday 13 April 2012
Starring: Michael Sheen, David Rees Talbot
Sunday 25 March 2012
Simon McBurney brings dazzling technology to his Bulgakov adaptation but little clarity. A Sondheim evergreen, meanwhile, is as fresh as ever
Sunday 04 March 2012
'It is read from the cabinet to the nursery'
Saturday 18 February 2012
The ancient world of disbelievers
Friday 17 February 2012
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.
Wednesday 15 February 2012
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."
Sunday 12 February 2012
Wednesday 08 February 2012
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.
Friday 20 January 2012
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".
Wednesday 18 January 2012
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.
Friday 30 December 2011
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.
Thursday 29 December 2011
Once you make it your primary aim to refute the existence of God, you miss what's really fundamental
Tuesday 27 December 2011
Defining the true atheist. Or not
Thursday 22 December 2011
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".
Monday 19 December 2011
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.
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
- 1 Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
- 2 Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench back campaign to stop Thailand dog meat trade
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 5 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News