Tony Benn sparked Government horror when he took it upon himself to suggest that the BBC could buy The Times newspaper.
Printing of The Times was suspended for nearly a year from November 1978, leading to fears it might not survive.
Unions were in deadlock with management over new printing equipment.
Mr Benn publicly said the Corporation could take over —without warning fellow Cabinet members about his plans.
He said: “It would be prudent to consider a means by which the Times could be saved ... to preserve its essential national character.”