Thomas Whitely (invariably referred to by his nickname "Chalkie") was born on 21st December 1924. He was married to Mary Whitely and they had at least one son, Bob Whitely. By 1982, Chalkie was a widower and living in Viaduct Street with his grandson Craig, who was living with him while Bob, a merchant seaman whose wife Margaret had also passed away, was at sea. Chalkie worked as binman alongside Eddie Yeats and Curly Watts. It was usually his job to drive the lorries.
When Chalkie got word that his home was to be demolished, he started house-hunting and became interested in 7 Coronation Street, recently rebuilt by Len Fairclough seventeen years after it collapsed in 1965. Len and his wife Rita lived next door at No.9 and were asking for £14,000 for the adjacent property, which Chalkie thought was too much. Fortunately, Rita also had her eye on the new house and tried to interest Chalkie in No.9, with the Faircloughs moving next door. Chalkie offered £10,000 - less than Len wanted but eventually Len was talked round and in August Chalkie moved into the house with Craig.
More disputes with the Faircloughs were to come. Just before the Whitelys were to move in, Rita sold the house's carpets to Chalkie, only for them to be ruined when Len threw an impromptu farewell party at the house. When Chalkie forgot to pass on a letter to Len for a week, Len lost his temper and shouted at Chalkie, resulting in Chalkie refusing to pass on any of Len's post, costing his plumbing business work. Rita later settled it by paying to have Len's post redirected: a victory for Chalkie.
Looking after Craig was an arrangement which worked for Chalkie but it wasn't without difficulties. Craig was starting to become rebellious by skiving off school and playing his drums, annoying Chalkie and the neighbours, but worst of all was Craig's maternal grandmother Phyllis Pearce, who in September tracked the pair down even though Chalkie hadn't passed on their new address to her. Phyllis thought Chalkie was not meeting Craig's needs and started hanging around the house to keep an eye on them both (as Chalkie had feared). When Chalkie and Craig built a pigeon coop together, Phyllis released the pigeons as she thought they were dirty. Chalkie got the pigeons back and looked after them.
In November, Bob returned from the Navy to a welcome home party thrown by Chalkie. To Chalkie's surprise, Bob wanted to leave the Navy and settle in Australia to raise Craig. Chalkie was also invited but although the prospect of being out of Phyllis's reach appealed to him, Chalkie had made a life in Weatherfield and felt too old to start again. Phyllis appealed to Chalkie to talk Bob into letting Craig stay but Chalkie decided against it, feeling that Craig would be better off in Australia with his father.
In January 1983, now living alone, Chalkie fell ill with flu and, against his will, was looked after by Phyllis. He kept in touch with the Whitelys in Australia as much as possible and in February decided to sell No.9 and live somewhere smaller so that he could give the money to Bob. Phyllis saw this as an opportunity to get her man and asked Chalkie to move in with her but unsurprisingly the idea didn't appeal to him. At the time, Chalkie was pursuing widow Alice Kirby and agreed to live with her despite being somewhat frightened of Alice. He was ready to sell No.9 to Mr and Mrs. Cheetham but Phyllis put them off buying the house, aware that losing that would mean losing any chance of Craig returning. Just as he was to move, Chalkie found out that Alice had dumped him for Mr. Johnson.
In July, Chalkie put £10 on a five-horse accumulator and came up trumps with £3,543.75 winnings. He immediately started making plans to move to Australia by quitting his job and, leaving No.9 to be auctioned, left for Australia in August. Phyllis made a plea for Chalkie to take her with him but they were dutifully ignored.
- Chalkie was first seen in Episode 2178 (15th February 1982). His first appearance as a regular was in Episode 2220 (12th July 1982).
- Although not a long-term character, Chalkie left a legacy in Phyllis Pearce, with Percy Sugden later filling the role of the reluctant recipient of Phyllis' advances.
First and last lines
"What a load o' drivel." (First line, to Eddie Yeats)
"Bye all! Bye! Bye! Cheerio!" (Final line)