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.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel