Thanks for the kind words D.M..
And cheers for the advice Rhubix, I've been using "Stop Staring" as my guide for my blendshape misadventures, it's a great book and I think there is actually quite a lot of in-depth info on creating interfaces with which to control the blendshapes in a more manageable manner than countless sliders. I suppose once you've made a set of controls you could effectively just key out the more common, useful expressions at a control level and then just call on them when needed during an animation.
Anyway, I hope everyone's had a good Christmas and new year, I haven't really got round to diving back into my blendshape shenanigans as I've only been back in London for a few days but I have managed to throw together a little test animation for a potential job (fingers crossed!!). Anyone who had a half decent childhood and is around my generation should recognize the following illustrations that I've used to create these tests: