In his introduction, Godber describes Happy Families as 'a much more lyrical play than either Bouncers or Shakers. It is autobiographical, sentimental, domestic and insular, and yet it is quite theatrical at the same time. The narrator John speaks directly to the audience, arranging his/my life in a series of vignettes . . John takes us through the play from his eleven-plus failure to his graduation day as a drama teacher.
Happy Families was commissioned by British Telecom for the Little Theatre Guild of Great Britain and received 49 simultaneous premieres by members of the Guild in October 1991. The play was subsequently rewritten and performed professionally at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in February 1992.