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.

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?

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.

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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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