Gillian Werts was born in Dover, Kent, the daughter of a reporter on the Kentish Mercury (who was born in India) and a mother who worked in an office during World War II (who was born in Jamaica). An only child, she taught at a grammar school after graduating with a degree in English from the Westfield College, University of London. A film version of her novel Three into Two Won't Go (1967), with a screenplay by Edna O'Brien, was released in 1969. It starred Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom, and was directed by Peter Hall.
She adapted one of her short stories "The Night of the Stag" for The Frighteners, an anthology series produced by London Weekend Television (LWT). Helen: A Woman of Today was another LWT drama recounting the side of a wronged wife for which Newman wrote two episodes. Having been commissioned by Tony Wharmby for both projects, Newman sent hims a copy of A Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1969) as a present; the book was by then out of print.
Newman adapted what was her sixth novel. Broadcast from early January 1976, Bouquet of Barbed Wire (losing the indefinite article) as a seven-part serial, it had audiences of 20 million. Newman recalled her work in 2010 at the time when it was being remade: "I never set out to shock, just to tell a story about an imaginary family, but I imagine most people would still disapprove of hitting your pregnant wife and having sex with her mother." Its sequel, Another Bouquet, followed in 1977.
Another novel, Mackenzie, was dramatized by the BBC in 1980, starring Jack Galloway, Lynda Bellingham and Tracey Ullman. This adaptation was followed by Alexa (1968 – adapted for the BBC, 1982), A Sense of Guilt (1988 – adapted for the BBC, 1990), and An Evil Streak (1977 – adapted for LWT, 1999). In 2001, Newman was the writer for the television drama Pretending to Be Judith.
Her other novels included A Share of the World (1964), Mirage (1965), The Cage (1966) and A Gift of Poison (1991). Triangles, a book of 15 short stories, was published in 1990. It was remarked that a frequent theme in Andrea Newman's novels was that with the advent of a baby, the family disintegrates.
- Hayward, Anthony (19 December 2019). "Andrea Newman: Novelist and screenwriter who made her name with taboo-breaking TV drama". The Independent. Retrieved 18 March 2020.
- "Andrea Newman, creator of racy novels and TV dramas of tangled married life such as the hit 'Bouquet of Barbed Wire' – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
- Lawson, Mark (15 November 2019). "Andrea Newman obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "Andrea Newman obituary". The Times. London. Retrieved 18 March 2020. (subscription required)
- Moat, Janet. "Newman, Andrea (1938–2019)". BFI screenonline. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
- The Sunday Times; The 100 hottest tickets of the year 10 January 2010.
- Newman, Andrea (3 September 2010). "'I never set out to shock': Andrea Newman". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 November 2019.