TJ first appears with his sister, Rosie Spraggan, arriving together when their father moves to Albert Square with his new girlfriend Bianca Butcher. TJ asks questions about a crime scene at the house next door, scaring Rosie when he tells her it was a murder. The two clash with Bianca's children, especially Liam Butcher. TJ finds out that Liam was once in a gang, Whitney Dean was sexually exploited and Bianca was imprisoned for assault, and is not happy about living with them, so calls his mother, Nikki Spraggan. She arrives but TJ changes his mind about wanting to go. Eventually, Bianca and Terry agree that Nikki should have Christmas dinner at theirs, because it is what Rosie and TJ want. When a positive pregnancy test is found, TJ meets with Cindy Williams Jr and panics what they should do, revealing that she is pregnant with his child. Cindy initially decides to have a termination so they go to the abortion clinic, but after a disagreement, TJ leaves her there. Cindy later informs that TJ that she did not go through with the abortion and is keeping the baby. After talking to his dad, TJ then tells Cindy that he is committed to raising their baby together.
TJ stays with his gran for while until Cindy, who returns from Plymouth suddenly, gives birth to his daughter, Beth. TJ struggles with the prospect of being a father so young, despite Terry's determination for him to face up to his responsibilities. He reveals to Bianca that Terry is planning to move them to Milton Keynes, and that is part of his reasoning for not wanting to get close to Beth; Bianca is initially furious, but later agrees to move there with them after reuniting with Terry. Liam is furious when he hears TJ saying that he wants nothing to do with Beth. Then before Terry and Bianca move to Milton Keynes, Liam takes TJ to see Beth one last time. TJ leaves with Bianca, Morgan Butcher, Tiffany Butcher, Rosie and Terry but Whitney and Liam stay. Nine months later, Cindy sends Beth to live with TJ and he takes over custody for her.
Over three years after leaving, Tiffany returns to Walford and informs Whitney that Bianca attempted suicide. When Whitney tries contacting Bianca, TJ tells her that Bianca is on a cruise. TJ and Whitney arrange to meet but TJ fails to provide any answers for Tiffany's behaviour. When Tiffany realises that TJ is in Walford, she disappears; TJ acts casual about her disappearance. When she returns, Tiffany reveals that Bianca and Terry left Tiffany in TJ's care but TJ had sex with random girls in the house and threatened Tiffany so that she would not tell anyone. Whitney orders TJ to leave and keeps Tiffany in her care.