Charlie Hoyland made his first screen appearance on 20 March 2006. He was originally played by Aaron Aulsebrook-Walker, until the part was recast to Jacob Brito in 2008. A Network Ten website writer called Charlie, a "miracle baby". It took Stephanie Scully (Carla Bonner) and Max Hoyland (Stephen Lovatt) months to conceive and during the pregnancy Steph was diagnosed with breast cancer. Steph refused to have treatment until Charlie was born. In October 2010, it was revealed that Charlie was going to be snatched in a storyline, which also saw the return of a character that wanted to cause pain to Steph and Libby Kennedy (Kym Valentine). TV Week said that Charlie would "go missing in mysterious circumstances" and it would leave Steph panicked. The storyline began when Summer Hoyland (Jordy Lucas) and her friends brought Charlie out for Halloween and she took her eye off him. In 2011, Charlie left the show, along with Lyn Scully (Janet Andrewartha).
On 13 October 2015, it was announced that the character would be returning in early 2016, with Alexander McGuire now in the role. McGuire researched his on-screen family and began filming for the guest stint on 16 October. Of joining the show, he commented "It's an amazing first job in the industry. Neighbours has been such a big part of Australian television and has launched so many careers. I'm really excited. It was for a bit of fun when I asked to do a screen test. Now that I have a small role, I feel very lucky to be part of an amazing team."
When Steph falls pregnant, she is also diagnosed with breast cancer. She refuses to have treatment to protect the baby, causing a rift between her and Max. Their son is born two weeks premature and is named Charlie after Steph's grandfather, Charlie Cassidy (Cliff Ellen). When Izzy Hoyland (Natalie Bassingthwaighte) babysits Charlie, Robert Robinson (Adam Hunter) sneaks into the house and turns on the gas. Izzy passes out, but they are both saved by Lyn Scully. A few months later, Max believes he is losing his mind when Elle Robinson (Pippa Black) launches a revenge plan against him. She snatches Charlie when Max is meant to be looking after him. Max later walks out on his family and leaves town. Steph begins a relationship with Toadfish Rebecchi (Ryan Moloney), giving Charlie a new father figure. When they become engaged, Charlie is one of Toadie's best men. However, the wedding is called off when Steph struggles with her vows. Charlie befriends Ben Kirk (Blake O'Leary). Steph starts dating Jay Duncan (Charlie Clausen) and she and Charlie go away to a cabin with him. Steph realises that Jay started a fatal bush fire, and she tells Charlie to walk back to a fruit stand down the street alone. Toadie and Nicola West (Imogen Bailey) find Charlie by the side of the road and Nicola stays with him, while Toadie saves Steph. Steph decides to concentrate on Charlie for a while.
When Steph takes Charlie to the garage, she is distracted by her new partner Greg Michaels (Nick Farnell) and a cabinet falls on Charlie. He is left without serious injury. Charlie befriends Mickey Gannon (Fletcher O'Leary) and Callum Jones (Morgan Baker). They form a band with Ty Harper's (Dean Geyer) help. Steph becomes pregnant and leaves town with Charlie for a while, where she gives birth to his half-brother Adam. Summer and her friends take Charlie trick-or-treating for Halloween and he wanders off. Lucas Fitzgerald (Scott Major) finds Charlie's ghost costume in a car park. Samantha Fitzgerald (Simone Buchanan) finds Charlie and is taking him to Harold's Store when she runs into Steph, Lucas and Lyn. Steph spends as much time as she can with Charlie during her trial for culpable driving. She tells Charlie that she may need to go away for a while and Charlie asks if he can go with her. Steph is sentenced to six years in prison, leaving Charlie in the care of Lyn. Charlie misses his mother. Charlie and Callum bring home a Blue-tongued skink, called Teddy. On his birthday, Lyn tells him that Teddy needs to go back to his owner. Charlie tells Lyn that he hates her and he misses his own party. Jim Dolan (Scott Parameter) returns with Teddy, explaining that his owner did not want Charlie to be upset. While Sophie Ramsay (Kaiya Jones) is babysitting him, Charlie runs away to find Steph. Lyn has Steph moved to a low security prison in Bendigo and she and Charlie leave Erinsborough. When Steph is released from prison, she reveals that Max has full custody of Charlie and that they are living in Fiji.
A few years later, Lyn brings Charlie back to Erinsborough, promising him a surprise. They end up spending the day with Susan Kennedy (Jackie Woodburne). At the Harold's Café, Charlie meets Jimmy Williams (Darcy Tadich), who tells him that he enjoys spending time with Steph, who is living on Ramsay Street. Charlie leaves the café to see Steph. She explains to him that she has been ill and did not want him to see her that way. Steph shows Charlie some letters she wrote to him, but never posted, and he softens towards her. As Lyn prepares to take him back to Bendigo, Charlie promises Steph that he will not tell Max about his visit. Charlie returns a couple of weeks later, having caught the train from Bendigo to come and see Steph. Lyn comes to collect him, and she and Steph let Charlie spend time with Jimmy. When Charlie and Jimmy argue, Steph struggles to tell him off and he runs away when he learns she has been giving Jimmy presents. He watches Steph fix her motorbike and comes back to help her. Shortly after, Charlie's stepmother Philippa Hoyland (Wendy Bos) turns up, having checked on Charlie's phone location while she was in Sydney. She collects Charlie, and is satisfied that Steph did not instigate any of the meetings with him. Steph video calls Charlie, but he tells her he wants to stay in Fiji and that he knows she was sick again. Charlie then ends the call. Philippa and Max later allow Charlie to spend time with Steph. Charlie rejects Steph's gift of a bicycle, and tells Mark Brennan (Scott McGregor) that he is scared as he had a recent bike accident back home. He also voices his concerns about Steph relapsing, after Philippa told him that Steph was ill during mediation. Charlie opens up to Steph and makes a pact not to get stressed about her. Mark arranges for them to spend time in a police car and Charlie decides to try out the bike. He also tells Steph that he approves of Mark becoming her boyfriend. After standing up for Jimmy, who was being teased for his mother's past employment, Charlie is locked in a dumpster by Archie Quill and his friends, and rescued just in time. Charlie returns to live with Max and Philippa in Fiji and Steph decides not to seek custody again.