A native of London, England, Tim Fywell earned a degree in English at Cambridge University. His first love was theater, and in the mid-1970s he began directing plays. In the late 1980s he made the transition to television after taking the BBC's three-month director's course in order to familiarize himself with the technical aspects. He directed the long-running soap opera Brookside for a year, as well as several TV movies before making his American debut with the telefilm Norma Jean and Marilyn (1996), starring Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino.
Fywell's big screen directing debut came with the award-winning British movie I Capture the Castle (2003), starring Romola Garai. He made his Hollywood major motion picture directing debut with Ice Princess (1995), starring Michelle Trachtenberg and Joan Cusack.