Dr. John Watson

Dr. John Watson is a surgeon in the British army while it is at war in Afghanistan in the late 1870s. He is severely wounded at the Battle of Maiwand by a bullet from an Afghan sniper’s jezail gun and retreats with the army to Peshawar where he is hospitalised. Despite his best efforts he is unable to recover sufficiently to return to his post and the military have no choice but to grant him honourable discharge and he returns to England.

He lives in a private hotel for a while but soon needs to find more affordable accommodation. A mutual acquaintance introduces him to Sherlock Holmes, who is also looking for lodgings. So begins the relationship between Holmes and Watson, one of the first and most fascinating male “buddy” relationships in English literature.

Watson Facts


The year a friend first introduced Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes.


Dr. Watson was the narrator in 56 out of 60 Sherlock Holmes stories.


The year Dr. Watson married his first wife, Mary Morstan.

Portrayed by

To date, Arthur Conan Doyle's characters have been translated onto the page, into products and onto the screen by Hollywood and beyond. Here are just a few of the interpretations of this original Arthur Conan Doyle character over the years. Work with us to create the next version of this fascinating character.

Martin Freeman

Sherlock, BBC (2015)

Jude Law

Sherlock Holmes, Warner Bros (2009)

Edward Hardwicke

The Return of Sherlock Holmes, Granada (1988)

John C. Reilly

Holmes & Watson, Columbia Pictures (2018)

Nigel Bruce

The Hound of the Baskervilles, 20th Century Fox (1939)

Lucy Liu

Elementary, CBS (2015)

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Original Arthur Conan Doyle characters available for adaptation

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