They announced it on their blog last week, and they used BBC Sherlock's Sherlock/Molly shippers (of which, I confess, I am one) as an example.
Louise Brealey, who plays Molly, reacted on Twitter:
Here's my entry, including links to words already in the OED (which probably won't work for you unless you have a subscription to it). I think my entry is perfect, but we'll see how it looks when it arrives in the OED online... :) It was a fun assignment - and I if I lived in England, I would be applying for a job at the OED.
to ship, v.
Etymology: The suffix ‘ship’ abbreviated from the noun ‘relationship’ and used as a verb. Developed in the late 20th century, on the Internet.
The psychological connection of a fan of a work of fiction (i.e. a book, movie, or television series) to a certain relational paring of the fictional characters. A dedicated fan will ship their ‘one true pair’, and perhaps have other minor ships, and the act of shipping may involve writing fan fiction, creating fan art, discussing or advocating the relationship in fan forums or on blogs, or simply by being emotionally invested in the outcome of the characters’ situation. The more passionate the fan, the more intense the involvement in shipping culture, usually online. Trendy shipping slogans include “I ship them so hard it hurts” and “I will go down with this ship”.
2005 The San Francisco Chronicle August 2005 In the Harry Potter fandom, 'shipping (short for "relationshipping") simply means championing a romantic relationship between certain series characters, either within canon or in works of fan fiction (fan-penned fiction that spins off an original narrative).
2009 University Of Pittsburgh Law Review 70.3 2009 Related concepts include het (romantic and/or erotic stories involving characters of different genders, such as Harry/Hermione), femmeslash and femslash (slash with female rather than male characters, e.g. Buffy/Faith from the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer), transgender slash, friendship fiction (indicated by an ampersand, such as Harry & Draco, to denote a story in which the two characters are friends, in contrast to their canonical relationship), and shipping (devotion to a particular non-canonical romantic relationship, or ship). Ships are often given names, such as HMS Harmony (for Harry/Hermione)…
2010 Tor.com January 2010 For those who’ve never heard of the phrase “shipping war”: this is fandom lingo for
flamewars disagreements amongst fans about intimate relationships between fictional characters. Various opinions on character pairings—canon or not, bizarre or not, straight or not—are also referred to as “ships.” You may have heard of references to the Hermione/Harry ship and the Hermione/Ron ship in Harry Potter fandom; this is what that means.
Chonin, Neva. “If you’re An Obsessed Harry Potter fan, Voldemort Isn't the Problem. It's Hermione Versus Ginny”. The San Francisco Chronicle. 3 Aug. 2005. Factiva. Web. 2 March 2012.
Jericho, Arachne. The Sherlock Holmes Fandom: Dawn of the Shipping Wars. Tor.com. Macmillan, 4 Jan. 2010. Web. 29 Feb. 2012.
Schwabach, Aaron. "The Harry Potter Lexicon and the World of Fandom: Fan Fiction, Outsider Works, and Copyright". University Of Pittsburgh Law Review 70.3 (2009): 387-434. OmniFile Full Text Select. Web. 29 Feb. 2012.