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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Thursday 15 October 2009
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.
Monday 12 October 2009
Saturday 10 October 2009
Monday 05 October 2009
Wednesday 29 July 2009
Friday 17 July 2009
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.
Thursday 16 July 2009
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.
Monday 06 July 2009
Wednesday 29 April 2009
Wednesday 29 April 2009
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.
Sunday 12 April 2009
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.
Sunday 12 April 2009
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?
Saturday 21 February 2009
“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.
Friday 20 February 2009
Sunday 01 February 2009
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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