Charlotte was the daughter of actress Ann Beach and TV producer Francis Coleman. She was also the sister of actress Lisa Coleman.
Charlotte went to St Michael's Junior School, Highgate. She also attended the Anna Scher Theatre school in the evenings as an alternative to going to Brownies. She was soon spotted by an LWT producer, who cast her in Two People
Major roles in Worzel Gummidge and the Marmalade Atkins programmes followed (the pilot, Marmalade Atkins in Space, was part of the Dramarama series, and there were also two series - Educating Marmalade and Danger - Marmalade at Work).
She went to Camden High School, but was expelled at 15 for smoking and drinking. She used her own earnings to pay for private education at Dartington High School. She also took cookery lessons.
In 1987, she worked on a one-off drama written by Marmalade Atkins creator Andrew Davies - Inappropriate Behaviour. However, that summer her boyfriend John Laycock died in a motorbike accident. As Charlotte later said in an interview, "I fell apart. It was such a shock and I didn't react well."
Nevertheless, in 1989 she won one of her most notable roles - that of Jess in Jeanette Winterson's controversial drama Oranges are not the only fruit.
A variety of TV appearances followed - including roles in The Bill and Inspector Morse, narrating a story on Jackanory (Night Birds on Nantucket), and starring opposite Ann Bancroft in the Clement/La Frenais sitcom Freddie and Max. In 1994 she would appear in her first major feature film, in what was to become one of her best-known roles - as Scarlett, Hugh Grant's flatmate, in Four Weddings and A Funeral.
She appeared in several TV and film parts in the latter half of the '90s, culminating in How Do You Want Me?, a dark comedy written by Simon Nye in which she and Dylan Moran played a pair of newlyweds relocating to the country. However, when she was working on the second series, she was displaying the signs of the illness that would finally claim her life.
At the time of her death, there was talk of a possible role in EastEnders.
She died aged 33.