Well - this is just for the record in case anyone else picks up a similar programmer (AVR ISP MK II STK500) form our friends in China!
Although I had followed the guide included with the product - I think I had already cooked my old mega8 before I got to programming!
I bought a cheap little multimeter and tested the board - all worked well. Regulated and non regulated power as expected - flowing across the circuit nicely. No unexpected connectivity or smoke
I replaced the mega8 ... still no luck !! .. I switched the connecting ten pin to six pin converter round that came with the programmer and wheeee everything worked. Servo hex uploaded and moved them to zero .. LED lit up (at last) etc.. - I hasten to add that I had followed their instruction in the first instance so some duff documentation there!
With regards to the STK500 device I've been using:
* There is only one green light .. not the two you would usually get with an AVR ISP MK2
* The device acts as a USB -> Serial device. In terms of AVR Studio, you're connecting using an STK500 via a COM port (I had to force mine down to a low number in device manager as it defaulted to COM 18 and I think AVR Studio only covers 9 COM ports
) - Don't try AVR ISP MKII using USB.
Perhaps this will help someone in the long run.