EVERY generation has its Maggie Smith.

Some know her best as Professor McGonagall of Harry Potter fame; others as the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey.

Or how about the Maggie Smith of Ladies in Lavender, Gosford Park, Sister Act, Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, A Room with a View, California Suite. Which is your Maggie Smith?

For me she will forever be in her prime as Miss Jean Brodie, clips from which are one of the many highlights of The Marvellous Maggie Smith: a Celebration (Channel 5, Saturday, 9pm).

Born in Ilford, Essex, in 1934, Margaret Smith (a name clash made her a Maggie), stood out from the crowd from the beginning. By 21 she was on Broadway. At 29 she caught Hollywood’s attention in The VIPs, appearing alongside Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Burton complained that she stole the scene from him. Olivier had the same gripe when he and Smith appeared together in Othello, though his response was far less gentlemanly than Burton’s.

Smith can be seen telling the Olivier story in one of the few television interviews she has given. While this 80-minute film features extracts from a couple of them, it is otherwise left to her friends and other talking heads to talk about her career and personality. One word that seems to come up a lot is “formidable”, for which read “strong”.

Among the contributors is Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey, who confesses he was surprised but delighted when she accepted the role, Gyles Brandreth, and Miriam Margolyes, who was at school with Smith. “She knows how to deliver a line,” says Margolyes. Who could disagree?

Another movie queen’s career is examined in Elizabeth Taylor: A Life in Ten Pictures (BBC2, Friday, 9pm). Before Diana, Taylor had to be one of the most photographed women in the world. Choosing just ten photographs to tell her story may seem an impossible ask, but Sarah Howitt’s film manages the task with aplomb.

Noel Fitzpatrick, aka The Supervet, has some competition. There have been more than a few documentary series down the years that have tried to conjure up the same animal magic, but none has succeeded. Now a newcomer, Mountain Vets (BBC2, Tuesday and Thursday, 8pm), might be in with a chance.

Filmed at various practices in County Down, Mountain Vets really does feature all creatures great and small, from cows and sheep to cats and dogs.

While the vets and nurses are Fitzpatrick-level lovely, the stars here are the patients.

In Tuesday’s episode we make the acquaintance of Roo, a lurcher who lost a leg after she was hit by a car. Though she has adapted brilliantly, the remaining stump is causing concern, as is the sound of her heart when the vet examines her. Is there no end to this poor dog’s troubles?

There is more drama to come from the cow in need of a caesarean to a lionhead goldfish that can no longer swim. In these and other cases the surgery scenes are pretty full on, and I cannot guarantee no tears before bedtime, but Mountain Vets is well worth a visit. Previous episodes are on iPlayer.

If television had an ideas cupboard the shelf marked “quirky cop dramas” would be alarmingly bare. From crossword-loving sleuths (Morse) to extraordinary locations (Shetland), everything seems to have been done.

But perhaps not. As we learn from Kew Gardens: A Year in Bloom (Channel 5, Tuesday, 8pm), the west London Eden has its very own constabulary.

So how about it, a new crime drama set in a pleasant location with some gardening advice thrown in.

Then again, it might be a little underpowered. In reality, the biggest problems faced by Kew Constabulary are people climbing trees, playing football, or helping themselves to cuttings. It's hardly prohibition era Chicago.

We’ll park that idea for a moment as there is plenty of other things to see and people to meet. Making the introductions is narrator Bill Paterson.

It is now May, and the biggest attraction is the bluebell wood. Inside one of the glasshouses is the rarer sight of a blue Amaryllis, flowering for the first time after a 10-year wait. Patience is a necessity for gardeners at Kew and elsewhere. Some of the work being done, such as the replacement of two trees in one of William Nesfield’s world-famous vistas, will not come into its own till the current staff are long gone.

We also meet a few of the students studying for the Kew Diploma in Horticulture. Kew alumni include one Alan Titchmarsh. Wonder if the gardening game worked out for him?