Queen drummer Roger Taylor has tipped British actor Ben Whishaw to play the role of Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the legendary singer.

Speaking on the BBC’s One Show, Taylor remarked that the actor the band would prefer had the initials “BW”, and when asked if that meant Whishaw, he replied: “Well, we hope so.”

Earlier this year 33-year-old Whishaw played the role of Q in the James Bond film Skyfall.

Sacha Baron Cohen pulled out of the Mercury project in July.

Expanding on the Borat star’s reason for leaving the role, Queen guitarist Brian May said: “We felt that his presence in the movie would be very distracting”.

The musician continued: “What led us to that conclusion was the last three movies that [Baron Cohen has] made – The Dictator, Les Miserables and Hugo – in which he makes outstanding performances, but they’re very much Sacha Baron Cohen performances. And we thought there has to be no distraction in the Freddie movie. You have to really suspend that disbelief – the man who plays Freddie; you have to really believe is Freddie. And we didn’t that could really happen with Sacha.”

Freddie Mercury died aged 45 of bronchopneumonia brought on by AIDS on 24 November 1991, only one day after publicly acknowledging that he had the disease.

He continues to be voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music.