Tommy was from Leeds. His father Fred Foyle strangled his mother Jean to death and pleaded guilty to murder. After placing his sisters in the care of his aunts, Tommy joined the army and was left with a permanently ulcerated leg after being shot accidentally. In 1915 he took on the shop with his sister Amelia, prevented from signing up because of his leg injury.
Amelia died from flu in 1919. The next woman in his life was Lil Makepiece, a young local beauty who lived two doors away. They were married in 1923 but it was only then that Tommy discovered that Lil had been manoeuvred towards him by her mother Ivy Makepiece, who had cast her eye on the shop and had family all over Weatherfield - strong, burly men among them - who now expected unlimited credit. Tommy was pushed to near bankruptcy and as soon as Lil died from bronchitis in 1927, Tommy took in a dog called Growler, as he knew Ivy was frightened of dogs. She never graced the shop again.
Tommy's second wife was Elsie Castleway, a former singer who was much younger than her husband. They had two daughters, Hilda and Shelagh, and were very happy. During the war, Tommy suffered a stroke and became bed-ridden. When the air raid sirens went off, he stayed in bed but fortunately Coronation Street wasn't hit. He survived the war only to die from a heart attack during a Street party to celebrate the end of the war.
- In Episode 2882, Alf Roberts stated that Tommy used to give away week-old barm cakes in the shop throughout World War I and the Depression - although Alf gave Tommy's surname as 'Hoyle'.