Anyway, within a few hours of receiving it, I had rooted it, removed the security checks, and installed an engineering HBOOT thanks to the helpful instructions over at Cyanogen's wiki. Annoyingly, its all been broken already, I didn't even have to disassemble the baseband firmware this time!
Oh, I then built a cyanogen gingerbread build for it. It worked but had no sound. However, using one of the cyanogen nightlys had working sound. The phone needs various binary blobs copied from an existing firmware, and I had just used the ones supplied by Orange. The blobs in the nightly are different, so I suspect Orange had just messed things up as usual. Its now working perfectly.
Anyway, its great improvement over the Hero!