Charles Mitchel was born in Dublin in 1920. He was educated at Clongowes Wood and Trinity College Dublin. During his college days he became a leading member of the Trinity Players. He left college in 1947 without taking a degree and joined the Gate Theatre where he worked as a stage actor until 1958. He was one of the founders of Irish Actors Equity and served as president of the Catholic Stage Guild.
In 1961 Mitchel joined the newly formed Telefís Éireann as a newsreader. His starting salary was £26 per week. He read the first news bulletin on December 31, 1961, minutes after the station was launched. He received numerous honours, being awarded television personality of the year, and was the first RTÉ presenter to win a Jacobs' Award. Mitchel retired as a newsreader in November 1984.