MAUREEN Beattie, the iconic Scots actor known for her appearances in The Bill and Casualty has, as vice president the actors' union Equity, launched a far-reaching investigation into sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

In an interview with the Sunday Herald she described how she was spurred not only by the recent scandals in her industry but also by her own experience. She described how, as a drama student, she was told by a “person in power” that her work was not that good as an actor because she was still a virgin.

“Now I don’t think it takes that much to extrapolate from that," she said "that he was offering to help me with this terrible problem of mine.”

READ MORE: Maureen Beattie on the early experience that shaped her view of the showbiz industry

Beattie also described her regret that she had failed to help another woman who was the victim of harassment while she was working on a production with her. The young woman was handed a note, from an older man in the company, which, Beattie said, “drained the blood from my face… really invasive, sexual”.

Beattie said that such behaviours were “in the marrow” or her industry. “We need,” she said, “to find a way of making it so utterly unacceptable that even the most hardline harassers will think twice before moving in on someone.”

Among the allegations that triggered the investigation were those around Kevin Spacey when he was artistic director at the Old Vic in London. Beattie said she had been aware of “gossip” surrounding him, but stressed that gossip was all it was.

“Because it’s very important that we remember, if we are to make a change occur, we have to be very, very careful what we say and we have to be very very careful of our facts. People tell tales, Chinese whispers start to happen. And sometimes they turn out to have absolute facts behind them, and sometimes they don’t.”

“It’s absolutely essential,” she said, “that we go through the proper processes, because what can happen at its very worse is that gossip can get out of hand. People start to put their own little curlicues on stories and start to embellish. If we do that it can actually put the kibosh on actually bringing people to a point where they are punished, and are found guilty for what has been done.”

READ MORE: Maureen Beattie on the early experience that shaped her view of the showbiz industry

Equity’s investigation into sexual harassment will aim not only to allow people to tell their stories, but to encourage ideas for how such behaviour might be deterred in the future, and how victims might be helped to feel comfortable reporting them, and supported by the union.

The union will publish its conclusions and recommendations early in 2018.