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.

Atheist doctors behave differently

Atheist doctors are almost twice as willing to take decisions that speed up a person's death as those who hold deep religious beliefs, research suggests.

Richard Herring: Christ on a Bike, Assembly Rooms

Richard Herring often jumps through hoops for his Edinburgh shows. He'll always ask his audience to jump through hoops, too, and last year, with Hitler Moustache, we did so willingly because we knew we were being rewarded for it.

Gove welcomes atheist schools

The Government is ready to back the creation of atheist schools as part of its series of reforms, the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, said yesterday.

Vatican reaches out to atheists – but not you, Richard Dawkins

The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and agnostics in an attempt to improve the church's relationship with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create a new foundation where atheists will be encouraged to meet and debate with some of the Catholic Church's top theologians.

Legal bid to stop council prayers

A campaign group is going to court to try to stop a council's "archaic practice" of holding prayers before meetings.

Christian ad challenged

A bus poster that proclaimed "There definitely is a God" received more complaints than any other advert last year, the Advertising Standards Authority said yesterday.

'Definitely a God' poster tops complaints list

A bus poster which read: "There definitely is a God" attracted more complaints than any other advert in 2009, the Advertising Standards Authority said today.

The Rage Against God, By Peter Hitchens

At the age of 15, Peter Hitchens set fire to his Bible on the playing fields of his Cambridge boarding school, and began a period during which his beliefs and actions were precisely those he has spent most of his career railing against. He was a youthful Trot, a nuclear disarmer who regarded "marriage as something to be avoided, abortion as a sensible necessity... homosexuality as very nearly admirable". Above all, he was an atheist.

Atheist given Asbo for leaflets mocking Jesus

An atheist who left leaflets mocking Jesus Christ, Islam and the Pope in an airport's prayer room has been given an Asbo.

Tom Sutcliffe: This papal tone of petulance is shameful

The Pope's weekend address reveals that he still doesn't understand what went wrong

Living Books, Radio 4<br/>Behind the Brel: The Story of a Musical Genius, Radio 2

Here's what the Human Library website says about journalists: "In human circles also known as the parasite. The leech that sucks your blood and spills your guts in a global forum." Thanks for that.

Marcus Brigstocke: God Collar, Vaudeville Theatre, London

Faith, hope and occasional hilarity

Minor British Institutions: The League Against Cruel Sports

You might have thought the League Against Cruel Sports would have abolished itself back in 2005 when, after its 80-year-long campaign, the Commons finally voted to make hunting with hounds illegal in the UK.

The Book of Atheist Spirtuality, By André Comte-Sponville

This work by a former professor at the Sorbonne disproves the view that French philosophy is impossibly opaque. Compte-Sponville deftly demolishes three classical arguments that God must exist. Typical is his squashing of the ontological argument (a perfect being must have the quality of existence): "How could a definition possibly prove an existence?"

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Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project