Charlton was born in Sydney and is the elder brother of Australian sports broadcaster and Order of Australia recipient Tony Charlton. He initially worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as a presenter in current affairs and commentator for Test cricket matches, but later moved to London. He was the Australian representative on the BBC radio cricket commentary team for the 1956 Test series between England and Australia. In 1961 he was the inaugural presenter of Four Corners, an Australian current affairs programme. In 1963 he was the recipient of the Australian Gold Logie award.
Reporter and interviewer
From 1962 to 1976 he was a reporter and interviewer for Panorama, reporting live from America in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. In July 1969 he reported live from mission control for the BBC during the Apollo 11 moon landing. Later, during the 1980s, he presented It's Your World, a phone-in programme on the BBC World Service.
Charlton wrote the 1986 seven-episode documentary TV series Out of the Fiery Furnace with Robert Raymond. The series traced the development of metallurgy from the stone age to the space age. Nuclear industrial advocate Ian Hore-Lacy also worked closely with the production team. The series was shown in 20 countries.
- "Charlton brothers in same show". The Age. 8 September 1966. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
- BBC Profile for "Lessons from the Past",  series on The Westminster Hour, BBC Radio 4.
- Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Ball by Ball: The Story of Cricket Broadcasting, 1990, p181.
- "Gold Logie Winners", All Down Under
- "Out of the Fiery Furnace - TV Series - Cast & Credits - Listings - NYTimes.com". www.nytimes.com. Archived from the original on 23 May 2015. Retrieved 21 May 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Out of the Fiery Furnace TV documentary premiere (1986) - on Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "about the Uranium Information Centre". pandora.nla.gov.au. Archived from the original on 7 March 2006. Retrieved 21 May 2015.