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INTERVIEWER: The character of Sherlock Holmes is over 100 years old now. What would you say is the secret to the character’s success?

MOFFAT: I think there are two things that attracted me and Mark. Therefore I assume that’s the same thing, and one that we always talk about, and in a way this is the smaller thing: the achievable, explicable superpower. The deductions are thrilling. […]

The other thing — and this is probably the surface glitter that draws you in — but the heart and the soul of it isn’t just Sherlock Holmes. That’s really, really important. It’s the friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. The best friendship ever depicted in fiction.

Partly because it’s a male friendship and men don’t talk about being friends, and [Sherlock and John] don’t, ever. They never actually say it. They never say, ‘Oh gosh, we’re really good pals, where are we going to go with this relationship?!’ They’re blokes. They never mention it again.

There’s one moment of affection expressed by Sherlock Holmes in a late era story [The Adventure of the Three Garridebs] and he thinks Watson is dead.

That’s how male friendship works: you make it known when you think they’re about to die.

That story, and that male friendship, it runs throughout the story, and you fall in love—not with Sherlock Holmes, who’s a difficult man. [And] not with Doctor Watson—who, oddly enough, can be a difficult man too; a sort of washed-up war hero …

[You fall in love] with the fact that they adore each other. These two extraordinary, brilliant opposites, who have a simple uncomplicated mutual affection that happened instantly, and remained unchanged over decades, and was never discussed at all.

That’s what people genuinely fall in love with. You cannot discuss Sherlock Holmes without discussing Doctor Watson.

The two of them are an absolute unit.

Steven Moffat

(Monsters and Critics interview, October 2010 [x])

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