Tommy Deakin was an Irish-born rag and bone man whose patch included Coronation Street, which he traded on from the Second World War until the early 1970s. His business was collecting and selling scrap, using a cart pulled by his donkey Dolores. He was known for his ragamuffin appearance and cheeky manner.
Tommy's regular haunt was The Flying Horse pub. In 1969, he played on the Flying Horse football team against the group from the Rovers, surviving an attempt by the Rovers regulars to get him drunk - Tommy turned out to be an even keener drinker than Stan Ogden. The following year, when the Rovers crowd were boycotting their own pub and drinking at The Flying Horse instead, Tommy organised a darts match and annoyed Albert Tatlock by trying to put Betty Turpin on The Flying Horse team. When the Rovers crowd returned to their pub, Tommy dropped by and tried to get a free drink from landlady Annie Walker by sending her a Valentine's card, but it failed as she considered him uncouth, his revelation shattering her illusion of a charming mystery admirer.
Tommy usually operated alone and was territorial over his patch. When he caught gypsies Reuben Ward and John Smith collecting junk in the Street, Tommy started a row but Ray Langton saved him from being thumped by Reuben.
In 1972, Tommy and his brother-in-law Dirty Dick, a fellow rag-and-bone man, opened the viaduct stables for Dolores, to whom they both laid claim. They decided to settle the matter by holding a contest in the Street designed to let Dolores decide which owner she favoured, but Dolores went to sleep instead. Tommy then opted to give the donkey to Dick, but caused a stir by pretending to the residents that Dick had decided to sell Dolores to the slaughterhouse - Tommy tricked Dick (who couldn't read) into signing a letter to that effect, and collected the money from Minnie Caldwell's 'Save Dolores' fund which was intended for him to buy back the donkey. After finding out that Tommy had been spreading lies about him, Dick publicly vindicated himself in the Rovers Return, and the residents used the money to pay for a stove in the stables. The joint venture lasted only two months as in November of that year the pair were served with notice to quit the stable.
Apparently a pet lover, Tommy also had a greyhound called Duke. He did however sometimes want time on his own and in September 1968 he tricked Emily Nugent into agreeing to keep Dolores while he went on holiday in Majorca, telling Emily that he was going to hospital.
In May 1974, Tommy, Dolores, and his sister Kathleen's boy Michael Ryan were forced to vacate the house for two weeks while Tommy's wife re-decorated. Michael found them lodgings at 13 Coronation Street after advertising them as "businessmen" in the newspaper. Stan Ogden wasn't happy to discover to whom he'd let the spare room, but warmed to the idea when they let him accompany them on a Whit Monday trip to the races in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. The outing ended with the Rolls being pulled over and Stan (who had taken over the wheel after the chauffeur Sandy Pirie joined in the drinking) breathalysed. Charged with speeding, DUI and driving with an out-of-date licence, Stan blamed his lodgers for leading him astray and told them to leave. As they'd paid for two weeks upfront, Tommy got compensation from Stan, neglecting to mention that they were planning to leave anyway.