'Sherlock' star Amanda Abbington has claimed she once had to confront a director who instructed a young actress to bare her breasts and touch herself in front of him.

The 43-year-old British actress was stunned when she heard the older man try and coerce her colleague, who was in her early 20s, into behaving in a sexual manner seemingly for his gratification and stepped in to stop the harassment.

Amanda - who has two children with her estranged husband Martin Freeman - threatened to quit the film if the unnamed director continued with his behaviour.

The 'Mr. Selfridge' star recalled the incident on ITV's 'After the News' discussion show - hosted by Nick Ferrari - on Thursday night (26.10.17) in response to the allegations of sexual assault made against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

She said: ''There was a young actress, it was one of her first jobs and we'd read the script, everything was fine. I just happened to be on set and I heard the director say to her, 'What I want you to do is take your top off and show your breasts and start touching yourself.' You could see this girl visibly blanch and not know what to do, because it was one of her first jobs.

Amanda approached the director and asked him if this sexual act was in the script of the film, when he replied that it wasn't, she claims she told him ''Then she doesn't do it. And if she does do it then I'm not going to do your film, and I'm going to tell everybody what you did.''

Revealing her disgust at the director's alleged actions, Amanda - who was joined on the panel by Labour MP Chuka Umunna and journalist-and-broadcaster Carole Malone - said: ''I think you have a responsibility to be an upstanding, moral director, and not do that to somebody on their first job.''