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.

Album: Mandelring Quartett, Shostakovich: Complete String Quartets, Vol 5 (Audite)

The final instalment of thequartet's sequence of Shostakovich string quartets brings together the 11th, 13th and 15th, pieces linked by their etiolated, elegiac tone.

Letters: Fond memories of 'unfriendly' Dulverton

How 'unfriendly' town treated a stranger in distress

Letters: Single mothers and taxes

Resist the urge to punish single mothers

Inherit the Wind, Old Vic, London

A coruscating courtroom battle

Ellie Levenson: An atheist camp is a terrible idea

Myone summer camp gave me the opposite view than the one intended

Reason, Faith and Revolution, By Terry Eagleton<br />The Case for God, By Karen Armstrong

Saying that science has made religion redundant is rather like saying that thanks to the electric toaster we can forget about Chekhov, says Terry Eagleton in this gloriously rumbustious counter-blast to Dawkinsite atheism. Eagleton, who is perhaps Britain's most venerable cultural critic, is not a Christian, though he was in the 1960s. But he continues, unfashionably, to be a Marxist, and his critique of the New Atheists is rooted in the historical materialism of revolutionary socialism, but with a thread of poetry woven through it.

Michael Reiss and John White: Atheism needs to be studied in schools

It is a laudable aim of the current National Curriculum that pupils "know about big ideas and events that shape the world". But one of the biggest of these is too infrequently studied in schools. We are thinking of the growing loss of faith, over the past two centuries, in a religious picture of the world. David Hume's 18th-century onslaught on arguments for the existence of God was an early catalyst, Darwin's 19th-century attack on what today is known as creationism a later and more devastating one. Nowadays, according to an ICM poll in 2006, the majority of adults in Britain describe themselves as non-religious.

Heard the one about the rabbi, the imam, and the Buddhist monk?

Kazakhstan was the unlikely host of a conference uniting the world's faiths. Jerome Taylor reports from Astana

Summertime camps boom: The 'Godless alternative' for non-believers

Even atheists are joining the rush to take the American way and pack off the kids for fresh air holidays. Jerome Taylor reports

Leading article: Camp Godless

The news that Britain will soon host an atheist summer camp conjures up bizarre visions of children sitting beneath a starry sky singing lyrical passages from Richard Dawkins, accompanied by the strum of a guitar.

Leading article: Easter &ndash; the rite of spring

Today is Easter Sunday, for Christians the greatest feast of the year, the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ from the dead. It may seem remarkable that a society that is in so many ways cut off from the cycle of the seasons still stops for a holiday timed to coincide with the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring equinox – for that is how, in simple terms, the Church calculates Easter – but it lends a pleasingly nonconformist character to one part of the year.

The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein, By Peter Ackroyd

The mileage in reinventing old stories or fictionalising the lives of real people from the past often begs the question: and the point is? One answer is that the novel allows for the possibility of imaginative truths, the kind of truths that biography has to forgo. Here, Peter Ackroyd has merged the real lives of Shelley and his wife, Mary, with that of Victor Frankenstein, who was, of course, Mary's invention. But why?

Richard Ingrams's Week: Don&#8217;t bring God into it &#8211; we have enough worries

“Now stop worrying” is the message of the crusading atheists who have paid to have the rather half-hearted slogan “There’s probably no God” plastered all over a lot of our buses.

The march of the atheist movement

First it was a bus, now a student body has been formed to spread the secular word

Somewhere Towards the End, By Diana Athill

Somewhere Towards the End is the winner in the biography category of the 2008 Costa Book Awards. It's not a biography, but that must have been the closest-fitting category for this extraordinary memoir, in which Athill reflects on a long and remarkable life (she was 89 when she wrote it and is 91 now). She writes of her friendships, love affairs, career, dogs, gardens, and what it is like to grow old and face death, all with a deft, feather-light touch.

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...